It took a while but David Cunliffe has realised, or been persuaded, that he should come clean about the donations to a trust which funded his leadership campaign:
Labour leader David Cunliffe has come clean about the trust set up to handle his donations during the leadership contest last year, naming three donors but saying two others were not willing to be named so their donations would be returned.
Mr Cunliffe has also said that using the trust for the campaign was a lapse in judgement.
He said the three donors willing to be named were Selwyn Pellett, Perry Keenan and Tony Gibbs, who gave a combined total of $9,500. Mr Pellett, a businessman, is a longstanding Labour supporter who has donated to the party and Mr Cunliffe in the past. . .
He said other donors had given a total of $8,300 but were not willing to be named. “That is their legal right. I respect their decision and can’t control it. In their case, the trust will be returning their donations to them.” He said he did not know who those donors were, or whether they were individuals or corporates.
Mr Cunliffe said it was an error of judgement to use the trust. It had meant he did not have to disclose donations in the Register of Pecuniary Interests.
“I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership. Decisions that were made to set up the trust could have been better. I have learned form that and am now making sure I do whatever I can to ensure transparency.”
He said if returning those donations left any shortfall in his campaign funding, he would cover the amount out of his own pocket. He estimated his campaign cost about $20,000. . .
No Right Turn doesn’t buy this:
. . . Which is just sociopathic “sorry I got caught” bullshit. The thing about values is that you live them, and they’re instinctive. Cunliffe’s aren’t. When faced with a choice between transparency and corruption-enabling secrecy, he chose the latter, and then tried to cling to that choice when it was questioned. These are not the actions of an ethical man who believes in open politics – they are the actions of someone trying to get away with something they know is wrong. And actions like this are yet another example of why the New Zealand public thinks all politicians are liars, cheats and scoundrels. . .
The best of people make mistakes, but ethical people do live by their values and this is the third gaffe in three months:
The slip over the baby bonus, by failing to disclose in his speech that it would not be paid on top of parental leave, took much of the wind out of his January sails.
It also deflected attention from a $500 million spending pledge that Labour had hoped would set the agenda.
No sooner was the House back in February than the $2.5m property-owning man was attacking Prime Minister John Key for living in a leafy suburb and defining his own mansion as a doer-upper and his own situation as middle of the road.
The climb-down came at the weekend.
This morning he has admitted it had been wrong to set up a trust for donations to his leadership bid. (If the cost was about $20,000 for his leadership campaign, why seek donations at all?) . . .
Every election is about trust but Cunliffe has also made it about trusts.
He was foist upon the caucus by the unions and party and he’s surrounded by people whose will to return to government is in strong conflict with their wish for another leader.
With every slip he makes, that wish will intensify.
P.S. Liberation has top tweets on the trust which include:
Meanwhile, in Matt McCarten’s office …..http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view5/2320932/blackadder-headdesk-
How can you return the money if you don’t know who the donors were?
Respectfully suggest if your household income is north of $500,000 and a leadership contest costs $20,000 …. pay for it yourself.
Of Trusts Regretted and Accounts Forgotten: a short history of NZ Labour leadership since 2012.
@nzdodo You can have an election Trust or the electors’ trust – but not both
And now we’re all saying “trust” like it’s a bad thing. #newspeak
Would Cunliffe be happy if the Rena’s owners paid the entire amount anonymously through a trust?
Mr Cunliffe and the word trust in the same news article. Not in quite the way he was hoping…
“I didn’t know the money came from Dotcom – Cunliffe” – Predicted headline ~6 weeks from now