Northland National’s ‘Battle of Britain’ fought with a bi-plane

As Reid at Kiwiblog says we are usually not on the same page, but on Northland “I agree with you”, and then comments:

Seems to me the media are going to use Northland to try and administer the coup de gras in the De-halo operation they’ve been running like shrieking hysterical schoolgirls since before the election which only went quiet for awhile immediately after the election while they absorbed the hatred and exposure of their tactics the result represented which they assumed always travel completely under the public’s radar, before resuming again in early November and ramping up to what we see now with the Little hype beyond reality etc and so forth.

Meanwhile National’s helping out the media big time in this operation by making every mistake it’s possible to make in the propaganda, political strategy and political tactical arenas over this whole affair which all began because Key insisted on hugging a corpse. And what a corpse it’s going to be when the public learn what it’s all about.

The only people who aren’t helping him out are the left and from that I exclude Peters, but the rest of the idiots are making it as hard as possible for Peters to get the traction he needs to allow the willing media liars to lay his smear and innuendo all over the nightly news.

But even the roaring incompetence of Little and Wussel won’t prevent this from happening as the campaign ramps up, and when the crescendo of WTF really happened to Sabin hits the fan, it’s going to be all over rover, whether or not National actually loses the seat or not. Because from a propaganda perspective, an actual loss is almost as good as a large dent in the majority, and one of those things is definitely going to happen, it’s just a question of which one it is.

And the real point is, all of these dynamics are a completely obvious open book to anyone who understands anything about politics and how it’s played so the real point is, if people like us can see the above and foretell it and pontificate on it as it rolls out as it definitely will, precisely like this, over the campaign. If people like us can do this, then what sort of roaring moron dummy idiot incompetents does National have in charge?

Because this was predictable for me, the instant I understood what Sabin is facing which for me was back in January and for the people in National was back in late November, and if I can do it then so can they. And the clear and present no-brainer obvious counter to all of this apart from ditching Sabin back in November with a ten foot pole which was Key’s massive error which will come back to haunt him but which does not have to destroy the party, only him.

But for the party, the obvious is to put your very best candidate in the whole country into Northland and watch him or her impress the hell out of all the punters with their shining skillset and competence which burns through all the propaganda and obfuscation no matter how much bullshit Peters and the idiot media care to throw, which will be a tremendous amount, but who cares, if you have a simply brilliant candidate with all the Ministerial support that an incumbent govt can offer with visits every weekend of the campaign from one Ministerial team after the other and policies galore that simply throw the spotlight onto our wonderful Northland winner. [Cue Tina Turner: Simply the Best…]

That’s what you do. And it’s real important.

Because this is make or break time in the Fifth National Govt. This is the point where the worm turns and where the fourth term is either won, or lost. This is the point where Little and Liarbore either start and keep gaining in poll after poll after poll or whether they keep bumping along the sea-floor.

It’s too late for Key. He’s lost his halo and he’ll never get it back because the public will never understand why he supported Sabin given what Sabin is facing.

Key’s amazing run with the public is gone forever, because of that simple strategic blunder he himself decided to make, back in November and which he himself needlessly exacerbated in January when he inexplicably and foolishly alluded to Sabin being on the fast track to Cabinet. Which he said knowing what Sabin is facing.

So what needs to happen is National needs to create sunlight between Key and the party during this election and keep doing it all through this term so it opens the way for Key to resign before the next election and someone else to take National into a historic fourth term. And this by election is where that process needs to start happening. And what I said above is a perfect way to start that process.

But clearly, no-one in National is going to do that, since they’ve decided instead to run a complete lightweight schoolboy whose going to get his trousers pulled down in front of the whole class by Peters every single time they are in the same room and this together with a media who simply can’t wait to plaster the very latest humiliation far and wide over the nightly news cycle, day after day, night after night.

So that’s what Northland is about, it’s National’s Battle of Britain. And so far, they’ve responded with bi-planes and a pilot from the local glider club.

- Reid

National, Sabin, Osborne, train wreck

National’s Northland candidate Mark Osborne was the treasurer on ex-MP Mike Sabin’s electorate committee so will obviously have had some contact with Sabin. It has been asked (and will keep getting asked) what he knew about the police investigation of Sabin that resulted in a court case.

Osborne was interviewed by Sean Plunket on RadioLive yesterday – NORTHLAND CANDIDATE KNEW ABOUT SABIN RUMOURS.

Plunket: What political experience have you got?

Osborne: Oh look I’ve been a member of the electorate executive up here for the last three years as treasurer and Northern Zone chair.

Plunket: So you were involved in the selection of Mt Sabin?

Osborne: No I wasn’t, no I wasn’t involved back at that point.

Plunket: At all?

Osborne: No, not at all.

Plunket: Didn’t know about it. Did it just happen while you were away or something?

Osborne: Oh look it happened before my time, so ah I’ve been…

Plunket: I thought you’d been there for three years.

Osborne: Yes but ah…

Plunket: Ok, but what about his re-selection or confirmation as candidate before the last election, where you involved in that?

Osborne: Yes, yes…

Plunket: Ok so you were involved. Did you know anything about the shadows that hung over him?

Osborne: Not at all. Not a thing.

Plunket: Nothing? You didn’t, hadn’t even heard a rumour?

Osborne: Oh I saw the rumours and the…

Plunket: Oh there were rumours. And you had heard the rumours?

Osborne: Oh yes.

Plunket: Yes. Did you ask Mr Sabin or did anyone ask Mr Sabin to clarify those rumours when he was re-selected as the candidate?

Osborne: Well I can’t speak for anybody else, but ah I asked if he was ok.

Plunket: Well what do you mean, did you ask if there was anything that might damage his candidacy or the National party?

Osborne: No no I didn’t, no I just…

A novice in an awkward situation trapped by an old pro. If the timing was awry he should have jumped on it straight away.

Plunket: Why on earth not?

Osborne: Why on earth not.

Plunket: Yeah. If you’d heard the rumours.

Osborne: Well I just wanted to make sure that he was ok.

Plunket: So you wanted to make sure that he was ok, rather than the party was ok, or that he would be in a position to serve the electorate if he would be re-selected and elected as the MP.

Osborne: Oh well look this was at the very end of last year after he’d been re-elected so ah it was more just as a treasurer you know just saying you know are you ok…

Plunket: So when did you first hear the rumours Mark?

Osborne: Ah right at the very end of last year when they were in the newspaper.

Plunket: Didn’t hear them before he was re-selected…

Osborne: Oh no not at all. I knew nothing.

Still no denial that it wasn’t a known issue pre-election though.

Plunket: Ok. So you knew nothing even though you were on the executive?

Osborne: That’s right no, nothing until it was in the media…

Plunket: The executive knew nothing?

Osborne: Ah well I can’t speak for them but I certainly knew nothing.

Plunket: Well why not? You must have had meetings.

Osborne: Well we never had any meetings that discussed that.

Plunket: But when you, ok when did you confirm his re-selection as candidate before the election?

Osborne: (pause) Well I ah, I was the treasurer so ah I didn’t reconfirm his selection.

Plunket: Where you at meetings where it was discussed?

Osborne: Ah no.

Plunket: Ok. All right. So no one knew. It was just suddenly then after the election ‘Woh, there’s a problem?

Osborne: That’s right. Well from my perspective absolutely had no knowledge whatsoever.

That oozes implausible deniability.

Osborne left wide open the possibility, perhaps probability that this was a known issue before the election, but claims it wasn’t discussed at all by the executive in any meetings.

And that he knew nothing until it was in the media. Even from Dunedin I had heard rumours a month or two earlier. There have been many reports of rumours swirling in Northland.

Key’s and National’s handling of the Sabin issue has been abysmal.

The feeling I get from this is that National chose a candidate who could deny knowledge of or complicity in the Sabin issue.

Of their own doing the Sabin train had very wobbly wheels. And now they have installed a novice driver to try and drive down a very shaky track with the National Party ducking for cover en masse.

I can see a high risk of political wreckage.

Winston was always very adept at political opportunism.

     ^ likely votes  –  National’s Northland train

UPDATE: the train has a stoker – John Key to boost National’s Northland by-election campaign

He’s stuffed up on his handling of the Sabin issue so far so he may add fuel to the Sabin fire.

Cannabis considerations

Commenter Paul468 posted this, it’s worth it’s own post.

We should definitely consider it. Some bullet points (excuse the pun)

1 Great opportunity for selecting Northland and East Coast as “certified” growing areas bringing employment and economic growth to two needy areas

2 Revenue for the government while reducing benefit costs in two of our very needy areas as they will have more work and economic activity. thats a win-win

3 Benefits around medical uses. I would enjoy help with control of my arthritis but would not want the high – so i could still work etc

4 It’s gotta be better than party pills and synthetic cannabis. In fact I doubt synthetic cannabis or alcohol or tobacco would pass the synthetic cannabis test easier than real cannabis would. I can see legal challenges looming on that onne.

5 It would free up police resources as well as courts etc

6 This will be an election winner. There will be staunch national supporters, myself included that would vote for another major party like labour on a single policy item such as this. That party would get the missing million, the youtth vote, the student vote and a lot of others wanting a one time vote to help make a change. It’s an election winner.

7 We need to push for this now so 2017 is the year for change.

Anyone else think point number 6 is right. Would you change for a single policy for just one election

Mark Osborne National’s Northland candidate

National has selected and announced their candidate for the Northland by-election. NZ Herald:

The National Party has chosen Mark Osborne as its candidate for the Northland by-election.

The party said Mr Osborne, an asset manager for Far North District Council, was based in Taipa, 60km northwest of Kerikeri.

“Through his work as a Northland public servant, former general manager of Te Ahu Charitable Trust, trustee of Mangonui School, and experience running family-owned local business Doubtless Beauty, Mr Osborne has strong ties to Northland,” the party said.

“National is working hard and delivering for the north,” said Mr Osborne, a married father of two children.

And some more detail about the selection from the Northern advocate:

Mr Osborne was selected by party delegates at a meeting in Kerikeri on Saturday. Voting had to go to a fourth round until he had an absolute majority of the 118 delegate votes.

He was up against Mita Harris, Matt King, Grant McCallum and Karen Rolleston.

The Advocate understands the final ballot was between Mr Osborne and Mr McCallum, a Maungaturoto dairy farmer.

About 150 people attended the meeting at the Kerikeri Sports Complex.

Mr Osborne immediately took leave from his job as Far North District Council asset manager until the election result is known.

He has previously managed Kaitaia’s Te Ahu Centre and co-own Doubtless Beauty with his wife Jodi. They live in Taipa and have two children.

He pledged to work to maintain a strong voice for Northland in John Key’s government.

David Farrar hadn’t rated Osborne as his top choices:

I’d say Karen and Grant are the front runners but all five candidates are credible and strong, and it will come down to the 120 local delegates, as they meet them and hear from them over the next fortnight.


Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston had very good selection speeches, and came across as more competent than the other three.

The other three were passable but not as polished as Mark and Karen.


Mark Osborne may be the surprise package. He seems to be well liked in many different areas across the electorate. He has certainly won some awards for his business efforts.

From Scoop:

“National is working hard and delivering for the north,” said Mr Osborne.

“National’s focus on investment and growth helped to create 7500 more jobs in Northland last year and Northland is currently one of the fastest growing regions in the country.”

Mr Osborne highlighted eight ways National’s plan is lifting Northland’s growth rate and helping more Northlanders into work:

• Building the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance to link Northland to Auckland
• Investing $255 million over three years in local roads and highways across Northland
• Backing Northland’s primary industries through the $750m Primary Growth Partnership.
• Attracting more investment and job growth in Northland through the Northland Regional Growth Study.
• Reforming the RMA to address the costs, delays, and frustrations that are holding our regions back.
• Rolling out much faster broadband services for Northland.
• Introducing the Maori and Pasifika Trades training initiative across Northland
• Supporting Northland families with free doctors’ visits for under-13s and investing over $134 million to improve and expand Northland’s school network since 2008.

“These are vital initiatives for Northland’s future. I’ll work hard to see them delivered and build on that momentum by keeping Northland’s strong local voice in the John Key Government.”

Based in Taipa, Mark Osborne is an Asset Manager for Far North District Council. Through his work as a Northland public servant, former General Manager of Te Ahu Charitable Trust, Trustee of Mangonui School, and experience running family-owned local business Doubtless Beauty, Mr Osborne has strong ties to Northland. Married to Jodi, he is also a father of two.

Salmond predicts easy National win in Northland

Rob Salmond is a strongly pro-Labour pollster. At his blog Polity he predicts what looks obvious to those with a grip on reality.

Prediction: Easy National win

With Winston Peters’ confirmation that he’s running in Northland, and Labour’s confirmed candidacy, I predict National will win the seat comfortably. The seat is a National stronghold, and a split opposition vote only helps them further in an FPP-style environment. So whoever wins the National selection, wins.

It would be remarkable if there’s an upset, and National have too much to lose to allow that to happen easily.

Since Peters has announced he will stand iPredict has swung against National but they still have a large majority. Mostly over that past weeks National have polled in the 90s but yesterday swung in the 70s, and they are currently at 82%.

Other (not National or Labour) party to win Northland by-election in 2015 has risen to 17% after peaking yesterday in the low 20s.

And more from Salmond a couple of weeks ago in Poll wordings in Northland that shows why caution is needed when peop;le claim ‘private poll’ support for their cause.

For the most dramatic poll result – “Winston could win!” – you would ask:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for:

  • Willow-Jean Prime
  • Grant McCallum [or whoever it ends up being]
  • Winston Peters
  • Another candidate?

Winston gets a huge boost in this poll wording because he’s the only one with really wide name recognition across the seat, and also gets a smaller bonus for being the last named candidate, meaning his name is freshest in the memory when the person is required to give their answer. This question will hugely overstate Peters’ chances, at the expense of both National and Labour candidates.

For a more accurate poll result, you might ask this instead:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for [in randomised order]:

  • The Labour party candidate, Willow-Jean Prime
  • The National party candidate, Grant McCallum [or whoever]
  • The New Zealand First party candidate, Winston Peters
  • Another party’s candidate?

This question provides people the information most of them will actually rely on when making their choice – party affiliation. That information, I understand, is printed on the ballots themselves, and it is the heuristic most people use when choosing local election candidates. (Also, the order is randomised from person to person, meaning the fresh-in-the-memory effect goes away across the whole sample.)

This is a much better question, and media outlets would be wise to insist on it, or some other variant that cues party affiliation. They’ll get less egg on their face on election night that way.

Threat of Dunne ‘rethink’ if Peters wins should help National

NZ Herald seems to be trying to make up news but highligthing something they seem to have posited to Peter Dunne may end up helping National in the Northland by-election.

Isaac Davidson has an article with a misleading headline – Peter Dunne wants rethink if Winston Peters wins Northland – and a misleading opening paragraph.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says he would look at revisiting his post-election concessions from the National Party if New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wins the Northland byelection.

That sounds like Dunne has come forward with the idea of a rethink. And:

Mr Dunne pointed to Resource Management reforms as one area which he could have greater influence over if National lost a seat. He said the reforms, which he has expressed concerns about, would “take on quite a different hue” if National relied on his vote to pass.

Mr Dunne noted that his party signed a confidence and supply agreement when National had an outright majority. National has since lost a seat in the final election count and could lose another in Northland.

But then:

Asked whether he would seek greater concessions from National if it lost another seat, he said: “That’s something I’d want to consider. I don’t have an immediate answer at this point.”

So he was asked a question about it, said he would consider it but doesn’t have any answer ‘at this point’.

But by raising the risk to National of a Peters win in Northland should help National.

It makes the by-election a high stakes contest. Most by-elections change little apart from one MP. But Northland could significantly change the balance of power in Government.

This will ensure National is determined to do well. And it should help encourage more National voters to vote (by-elections typically have low turnouts).

And Peters’ decision to stand makes for an interesting twist.

If Peters were to win Northland it would hand potentially much more power to arch-rival Dunne.

It’s possible a Peters win would see National turn to NZ First for support, but that seems very unlikely. It would seem far easier to renegotiate a few policy positions with Dunne than get strung along by Peters in lengthy negotiations and then through the next two and a half years.

And it looks far simpler to motivate National voters to hold onto Northland.

Bradbury dreaming about Peters and Northland

One day Martyn Bradbury might get one of his dreams or predictions right but I don’t think it will be on the Northland by-election.

In a post yesterday he asked Will Labour stand aside in Northland to let NZ First beat National?

I don’t thinK there’s any chance of Labour standing aside and not contesting the by-election. They already have a very keen candidate.

Labour confirms nomination for Northland by-election candidate

Willow-Jean Prime is set to be confirmed as the Party’s candidate in the Northland by-election after nominations closed this morning.

Prime campaigned for Labour in the 2014 general election and has served on the Far North District Council  as a locally elected councillor since 2013.

Labour launched their campaign last weekend with a strong show of MPs including leader Andrew Little. So it seems preposterous to think Labour would suddenly change their mind and stand aside.

Winston Peters has milkied media attention over possibly standing but has made no announcement yet.

3 News reported Winston Peters’ Northland by-election run decision ‘soon’:

The decision on whether Winston Peters will stand for New Zealand First in the Northland by-election next month is expected to be made “very soon”.

The party “decisively examined” the idea in a meeting last night and will meet again in the coming days about Mr Peters’ possible candidacy.

That was on February 10. ‘Very soon’ hasn’t eventuated yet.

Bradbury is undeterred by reality. He has been banging on about  Winston all month – on 2nd February: Winston’s time to shine in Northland by-election.

And in his latest post he’s trying that old trick of trying to talk up chances through a ‘private poll':

There is a private poll doing the rounds that shows NZ First neck and neck with National in Northland if the Labour candidate doesn’t stand.

Private polls have been notoriously unreliable, if they ever existed.

Seeing as National’s outright majority is under threat with a loss in Northland, such a tactic could be under consideration.

Could be? So Bradbury is dreaming.

Labour may not have the guts to make the decision as clear cut as removing their candidate, but there will probably be a lot of nods and winks given to Labour voters throughout the campaign to ensure National loses Northland.

That sounds like his claims that Internet-Mana were going to sweep to a substantial and balance of power holding position last September.

Currently on iPredict:

Nominations for candidates close next Tuesday 3 March.

The Northland by-election will be held on 28 March.

National have a short list of five but haven’t announced their candidate yet.

Labour, National up in One News poll

In the first One News/Colmar Brunton poll of the year Labour are up six to 31% and National are up four to 49% – this is a similar result to they recent Roy Morganl.

  • National 49% (up 4)
  • Labour 31% (up 6)
  • Greens 10% (down 2)
  • NZ First 6 (6% (down 2)
  • Maori Party 2% (no change)
  • Conservatives 1% (down 3)
  • Refused to answer 3% (down 2)
  • Undecided 7% (up 2)

Those results are round to the nearest percent so aren’t very accurate for the smaller parties.

Polling was done over 14-18 February so covers only a small part of the difficult week for Andrew Little.

Poll link.

This week’s Roy Morgan results were very similar:

  • National 49%
  • Labour Party 30%
  • Greens 12%
  • NZ First 6%
  • Conservative Party1.5%
  • Maori Party 1.0%

Colmar Brunton Preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 41% (down 2)
  • Andrew Little 12% (first result)
  • Winston Peters 7% (up 2)

Donghua Liu timeline and National versus Labour donations

Greg Presland has posted The more complete Donghua Liu timeline at The Standard. An incomplete quote would be pointless so here’s the whole new timeline.

The Herald yesterday ran a story about how Donghua Liu gave the National Party $25,000.  My jaw dropped when I read this.  Readers of that particular article were assisted by the provision of a timeline.  But it was really scanty and I though that I should augment it so that a greater appreciation of this very sorry incident could be given.  A lot of this information is derived from this excellent post by Frank Macskasy.

April 11, 2003:  David Cunliffe sends a pro forma letter to Immigration asking when a decision concerning Donghua Liu’s permit application may be granted.

March 6, 2007: Donghua Liu claims he purchased a bottle of wine for $100,000 at a Labour Party fundraiser on this date.

2012:  Liu’s company Roncon Pacific Hotel Management Holdings donates $22,000 to the National Party.  This donation is declared in National’s 2012 Party Donations return.

August 2013: Prime Minister John Key and National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross have a private dinner at Donghua Liu’s home. The Herald claims Liu donated later that month $25,000 to Mr Ross’s election campaign through the “Botany Cabinet Club”.

December 2013: Liu is arrested on domestic violence charges.

January 31, 2014:  Parliament’s register of pecuniary interests which is meant to include gifts valued over $500 does not include Donghua Liu’s apparent gift of $25,000 to Jamie Lee-Ross’s election campaign.  Genuine donations to an electoral campaign do not need to be declared.

March 2014:Herald reveals Maurice Williamson lobbied ministerial colleague to give Liu citizenship against official advice and Liu’s $22,000 donation to National.

April 30, 2014:  National Party Secretary Greg Hamilton files a Party Donations Return that does not include the Donghua Liu donation of $25,000.

May 1, 2014: Mr Williamson forced to resign as a minister after Herald investigation reveals he telephoned senior police officer about Liu’s domestic violence charges in January 2014. Prime Minister John Key said he recalled “seeing Mr Liu at various functions, including a dinner as part of a National Party fundraiser.” He does not mention that the private dinner was at Liu’s own home.

May 9, 2014:  Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse learns of the existence of the Cunliffe letter.

May 10, 2014:  Adam Bennett reports that Williamson had lobbied three different Immigration Ministers to relax the business migrant scheme entry requirements.

May 11, 2014:  Key’s office is informed of the existence of the Cunliffe letter.

May 26, 2014: A copy of the letter is given to Key’s office.

June 16, 2014:  Jared Savage posts a story claiming that Liu donated $15,000 to the Labour Party according to a party source.  His OIA application for information from Liu’s immigration file is declined.  He refiles an urgent application seeking correspondence from any MPs concerning Liu’s immigration application.  Brooke Sabin also files a similar request.

June 17, 2014:  Tova O’Brien asks Cunliffe if he advocated on Liu’s behalf at all and his response is “nope”.

June 18, 2014:  The Cunliffe letter is released.  The timing  of events that day is very revealing:

12.10 – Labour Leader’s office told of letters, and told OIA will be mailed in 1 hour.

12.30 – Office of Immigration Minister (Michael Woodhouse) told OIA being released, with letters.

12.49 – Jared Savage is emailed OIA.

12.53 – Brook Sabin – without a paper-trail of how he got the letters (but direct from Minister’s office?) – publishes his story on the letter.

12.57 – Whaleoil references Jared Savage’s OIA about the letter.

1.00 – John Armstrong publishes call for Cunliffe’s resignation due to letter.

1.06 – David Farrar refers to Jared Savage’s OIA.

2.29 – Herald publishes Savage’s story online.

Geoff posts “Reliable sources have also told me that Donghua is still donating cash to National too. (Any journos reading might like to ask Jamie-Lee Ross about this)”

June 19, 2014: Josie Pagani puts the boot into David Cunliffe and regurgitates National attack lines about “Gocha politics”.  Michael Woodhouse denies telling Key about the letter, then says that officials from his office briefed Mr Key’s office on the letters and then by 7 pm that day his office said the minister himself told Mr Key’s office about the letters and his office also gave copies of the letters to Mr Key’s office.

June 22, 2014: Herald publishes exclusive story claiming that Donghua Liu had bought a bottle of wine at a Labour Party fundraiser for $100,000 and donated more than $150,000 to the Labour Party.

June 25, 2014:  Herald publishes a further story stating that the $100,000 was not for a bottle of wine but the total of all donations to Labour.  $50,000 to $60,000 of this was the cost of hiring a boat trip Liu’s concrete company which Labour Minister Rick Barker attends and $2,000 was a donation to the Hawkes Bay Rowing Club.  John Armstrong publishes a column saying Cunliffe managed to survive “his own self-inflicted body blows last week”.  No mention is made of his previous column.  Use of the phrase “fucking joke” peaks on social media.

June 27, 2014: the Herald publishes an editorial Cries of bias will not stop reporting and readers take the opportunity to pour scorn on the editorial.

November 2014: Mr Ross returns the $25,000 donation to Liu.

February 2015: Electoral returns to reveal the $25,000 donation.

The claim that this donation was for Jamie Lee Ross’s electoral expenses appears to me to be contrived in the extreme as it meant that the donation, unlike the previous donation made by Liu, did not have to be disclosed the day before Williamson resigned.  I am sure that Liu did not care or even think about the difference.  And why should any electorate seek donations when they were receiving a $24,000 cheque from head office?

If any media is reading this they should ask is who the cheque was made out to.  And which account it was banked into.  And why this particular Cabinet Club payment wastreated differently to other Cabinet Club payments as well as the previous Liu donation.

And you want to know the really funny thing?  There is no evidence of a donation to Labour or of Labour breaking any rules to help Liu.

Except that Greg doesn’t appear to be laughing about it. He actually says he’s more than a bit mad about it but I’ll leave something more for you to see at the link if you’re interested.

I’m not certain about all the details but there’s some very fishy stuff in relation to the donation to Lee-Ross and it’s subsequent return over a year later. And in relation to the still unproven donation to Labour.

Hide on Sabin and National’s corrosive conflict of interest

In his Weekend Herald column Rodney Hide writes of National’s ability to shut up and bury “a corrosive conflict of interest” with regards ex-MP Mike Sabin.

National MPs know how to shut up.

Despite the best efforts of the Parliamentary Opposition and the Fourth Estate, National MPs remain mum about who was responsible for former MP Mike Sabin chairing the Law and Order Select Committee while under police investigation.

Their evasions and refusals made ministers look foolish, tricky and arrogant, but it would be worse for National, I fear, if someone were to own up. The refusal to answer questions wasn’t pretty or nice but it worked.

It appears forever to remain a mystery how Parliament was so abused through such a corrosive conflict of interest.

That’s bad for democracy, justice and Parliament, but jolly good for National.

It does look bad for democracy, justice and Parliament. It may look jolly good for National so far to have swepth an awful embarrasment under the carpet but the yarn may yet unravel.

The courts have indicated they may lift a legal veil of secrecy next month. If attempts to keep things shut up are  unsuccessful (an appeal is likely) that looks like it will happen about a week before the Northland by-election that is necessary to replace Sabin.

National have succeeded so far in keeping key details secret. They may get away with this.

But the risk they have taken is that this may blow up and become one big embarrasment with political payback with accumulated interest.

One thing the media don’t like is being forced not to report on things they think are of public and political interest, or they think will attract viewers and readership.

They may yet pull the rug out from National’s furtive feet.


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