More important questions for National than ex-lover spat and personal revenge

The turning rogue of Jami-Lee Ross and the text of Sarah Dowie has been a big story for months now, but a part of the issue that has been largely overwhelmed by the social saga side is what this has exposed about the National Party. Some have recently written about this.

Graham Adams (Noted & Stuff) looks at and beyond Parliament’s star-crossed lovers who crossed each other, starting with Jami-Lee Ross’s maiden speech in Parliament 2011.

In his speech, Ross also quoted the school’s aim to produce “good and useful citizens”. Most people will conclude he isn’t good but he has certainly been useful already if you look beyond the narrow interests of the National Party to the wider interests of the nation.

Ross has given us insights into our political life that only an insider could know, including how donations are handled and how much influence some donors expect (or hope) to have over candidate selection in the National Party.

His disclosures about wealthy Chinese donors has also sparked increased interest in Professor Anne-Marie Brady’s research into how United Front activities run by those close to the Chinese Communist Party have infiltrated our political life.

And Ross could prove himself to be even more useful if he told us much, much more about how our politics are entwined with the push by the CCP to influence perceptions of China overseas and policy towards it.

For starters, he might enlighten us on the role of Dr Jian Yang — that mysterious figure in National’s caucus who was part of China’s intelligence community and a member of the Communist Party, and who refuses to speak to journalists (or at least English-speaking ones).

It would be entirely appropriate for Ross to perform this service, not least because in his speech he declared himself to be passionately opposed to socialism.

He should be very happy then to expose the deep links between National — the party purportedly of “individual freedom and choice” (number 4 on its list of values) — and the communist regime in China that is one of the most repressive and repugnant on the planet.

Some will think it’s the very least a man who professed in 2011 to be devoted to “individual freedom” and who in 2018 dedicated himself to exposing the “rot within the National Party” could do.

Fran O’Sullivan (NZ Herald): Bigger issues to deal with than emotive texts

There are more pertinent issues at play.

Despite the public front National has adopted on the donations issue, it has still not satisfactorily dealt with Ross’ claim that he was effectively asked to wash a $100,000 donation from Yikun Zhang by ensuring it was split into smaller amounts.

National Party apparatchiks denied there was a $100,000 donation. National Leader Simon Bridges said at the time a “large sum of money” came into the party from multiple sources through donations from Zhang and supporters through Ross’ electorate account in Botany in the first instance.

The issue here is one of “substance over form”.

Nor has Bridges dealt satisfactorily with the clear implication from the tapes that Ross leaked, of a prior conversation that suggested he favoured effectively trading positions for different ethnicities on National’s list, in return for donations.

These issues — which strike at the heart of democracy and business ethics — have been obscured in the general furore over Ross’ meltdown.

It is obvious that there is sufficient underlying truth to Ross’ claims on this score to have provoked senior National MPs to call for change.

Former Attorney-General and National MP Chris Finlayson was sufficiently exercised to use his valedictory speech in Parliament last year to say he was concerned over funding of political parties by non-nationals.

Finlayson called for both major parties to work together on party funding rules, saying it was his personal view that it should be illegal for non-nationals to donate to political parties.

“Our political system belongs to New Zealanders and I don’t like the idea of foreigners funding it … we need to work together to ensure our democracy remains our democracy.”

The issue has also festered with the long-serving veteran National MP Nick Smith who revealed to the Herald this week he also wants reforms to ensure the integrity of the NZ electoral system.

If Ross is of a decent mind he would chalk up a minor victory on this score as having focused National MPs’ attention on behind-the-scenes dealing in their party.

National is not going to wash its dirty linen in public but the allegations their former party
whip raised are of sufficient merit for police to finalise that particular probe.

I don’t think we can rely on Ross being ‘of a decent mind’, he seems more intent on personal revenge.

And we can’t rely on the Police to do a decent investigation of political funding, they seem to prefer to avoid political investigations.

Unfortunately I think that much of the media is more interested in the personal lives of politicians becoming public fodder.

But a proper examination of funding methods and of possible Chinese influence in the National Party is where journalist attention should be focussed

Leave a comment

41 Comments

  1. Gerrit

     /  27th January 2019

    Journalist (or the Police) wont focus on political party funding for it would also expose Labour and Greens political donations.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11284900

    How much influence is bought by union donations versus Chinese donations?

    Is one as bad as the other?

    “Health Minister David Clark must come clean about funding for new medicines being pulled from Pharmac to settle the nurses’ pay dispute, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

    “This Government promised to prioritise the health system but has instead stripped away money that should have been reinvested into Pharmac meaning new medicines, including those to treat breast cancer that were petitioned for today, won’t be available for some time.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1810/S00143/unions-prioritised-over-medicines-funding.htm

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th January 2019

      Union donations ? Its all public and only a small number – Unite , Freezing workers and a few others
      . No money donated from teacher and nurses unions to labour party

      But back to the post.
      Fran has it right – no ones interested in JLRs future! – but this
      “Despite the public front National has adopted on the donations issue, it has still not satisfactorily dealt with Ross’ claim that he was effectively asked to wash a $100,000 donation from Yikun Zhang by ensuring it was split into smaller amounts.”

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  27th January 2019

      are you playing the role of…SQUIRREL…today!

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th January 2019

        We do know the Chinese money donated to national is much much larger than revealed, as it seems to be quite a bit hidden under $15k.
        The person who Bridges arranged to donate the $100k ( but as below $15K) , seems to be a reputable person and a Chinese community leader.
        Why hide it ?

        Reply
  2. Duker

     /  27th January 2019

    “I don’t think we can rely on Ross being ‘of a decent mind’, he seems more intent on personal revenge.”

    Wheres the evidence?
    yet we had a big story once his name was known , written by Melanie Read – but with major support in supplying sources from National.
    Read never said how she was given acess to those women working for national ( they are good like that)- trashing him.

    Where were the ‘concerns’ for that revenge hit job on JLR.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  27th January 2019

      I’m undistressed by the drubbing JLR got becos I think he’s a rat & we’re better off without someone like him – with his advisers – in Parliament.

      But it’s pretty clear he was then subjected to a highly orchestrated National party hit job & I’m very dubious about Melanie Read’s #metoo credentials & journalistic integrity now.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th January 2019

        jezza. Melanie couldnt resist joing the #metoo bandwagon.
        No doubt the basic claim of the women where true
        By melanie seemed to indulge her creative writing skills in mixing all the womens stories up – and hiding the differences from 2 women who were ‘subordinates’ and 2 others who were ‘peers’ , such as Sarah Dowie and a still un named political journalist

        Reply
    • Mother

       /  27th January 2019

      “If Ross is of a decent mind he would chalk up a minor victory on this score as having focused National MPs’ attention on behind-the-scenes dealing in their party.”

      Mr Ross was of a decent mind at a time when most men would be silenced. If people wanted him to continue to be of a decent mind, they should have desisted from kicking him when he was down.

      If SB was not so precious, Mr Ross would still be in National for good outcomes. Likewise, if PB wasn’t such a cruelly calculating woman.

      The reason Mr Ross broke was because they attacked his family life. Case in point. Strong families is NZs hope of a safe and bright future. This fact seems to escape SB and PB. Not very National like at all.

      I think that the rest in National should do the right thing by Mr Ross and call out their leaders’ callous behaviour. Mr Ross did right by them, to the best of his shaky immoral ability. Now it’s other people’s turn. Or do they have mental health issues? (frequently aka cowardice).

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th January 2019

        Yes . It was Paula Bennett who questioned Ross’s behaviour as ‘unbecoming for an Mp’
        She meant he was sleeping around.
        Dont let that mirror crack on you Paula

        Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  27th January 2019

    ‘These issues — which strike at the heart of democracy and business ethics’

    thats for others not for the NZ National Party.

    Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  27th January 2019

    a NZ M.P who refuses to speak to English speaking journo’s!!

    This is a scandal!

    ‘the role of Dr Jian Yang — that mysterious figure in National’s caucus who was part of China’s intelligence community and a member of the Communist Party, and who refuses to speak to journalists (or at least English-speaking ones).’

    Reply
  5. artcroft

     /  27th January 2019

    Fran seems to be suffering a brain fade. JLR suggested he had a tape of Simon Bridges instructing him to split a $100k donation. Completely untrue. He the transcript for Fran to check.
    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/17-10-2018/the-jami-lee-tapes-a-transcript-of-the-ross-and-bridges-donation-chat/

    Reply
    • Mother

       /  27th January 2019

      Chinese Christians do not enjoy freedom of speech nor of religion, yet the Church grows there.

      In NZ, Christianity has taken a hammering. Do we want the persecution of Christians in order to gain that ethical stance which can hold people together and keep business in order? In which case, the Christian fellowships will be underground and unbelievers will lose the benefits of having freedom of religion.

      It’s no use thinking that ‘I can be a good person in my own wee bubble’. Christians need to be in worshipping fellowship with one another.

      NZ individuals need to decide what to do about Christianity. It is a political issue.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  27th January 2019

        They are deciding what to do about Christianity. They’re opting out of it in favour of reality & secular humanism, just trying to live by the golden rule that many societies have had for millenia – do unto others as you would have them do unto you, be honest, be tolerant, speak up, & don’t get taken for a fool by somebody dodgy more than once.*

        *Special exemption for those who vote for Winston Peters owing to their apparently having a congenital addiction to it.

        Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th January 2019

      Is that how you work? Make up words which you then claimare false ?
      this is the direct quote
      ” Ross’ claim that he was effectively asked to wash a $100,000 donation from Yikun Zhang by ensuring it was split into smaller amounts.

      No one is saying ‘instructing’ other than you.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th January 2019

        Heres the ‘transcript’ you dont refer to artcroft
        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12144792
        Jami-Lee Ross releases ‘donation’ text messages between him and National Party general manager Greg Hamilton

        The killer txts
        “Ross: “It was Simon Bridges that arranged the donation, or groups of donations. I will have to figure out how it was organised. I was just tasked with collecting it.”

        Ross of course has no idea who these ‘below $15k benefactors of national are – strange dont you think that Bridges arranges a $100k donation , and yet when Ross collects it, its all below $15k from people no ones heard of.

        Reply
    • Amadeus

       /  27th January 2019

      Fran herself needs no lessons in dealing with Chinese money and influence with all the junkets she shamelessly goes on!

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th January 2019

        Its a wonder she doesnt bump into Judith Collins on these…

        Reply
        • Amadeus

           /  27th January 2019

          Who says she doesn’t? She was awfully soft on Collins during Dirty Politics while all the meantime tried very unsuccessfully to disassociate herself from Slater et. al with all her overtures to him.

          Reply
  6. Loki

     /  27th January 2019

    They need to go all the way back to the beginning of the Clark era.
    Anybody remember the Liu/Wang debacle?

    The smell of Chinese buying influence is overpowering.

    Reply
  7. Tipene

     /  27th January 2019

    Now we just need to have the shagging journalists outed – then we will see what / who / why influences what / who / why.

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  27th January 2019

      With “the shagging journalists outed” you might get to see who, why and what Tipene …

      And even you might not like it.

      They’re not called ‘Corporate-Political Elites’ for nothing!

      Reply
  8. Duker

     /  27th January 2019

    Interesting Point that Whaleoil raises for ‘No longer his problem’ Bridges.

    “Sarah Dowie like Jami-Lee Ross was granted staff leave on full pay but unlike Jami_Lee Ross her unexplained absence at the time was not subjected to journalistic scrutiny. ”

    So shes been out of parliament for 2 months up to the Xmas break plus another 6 weeks?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  27th January 2019

      What a load of shite. I saw Dowie there at all Question Times throughout the unfolding of this whole saga. Who’s spouting that utter crap above?

      Reply
  9. Kitty Catkin

     /  27th January 2019

    Is that confirmed, or is it just Whale Oil saying it ?

    Reply
  10. Mother

     /  28th January 2019

    One of the most important questions is re mental health.

    I was shocked that Mr Ross spoke in his first interview media 2019 that he intends to use himself as an advocate for mental health. I thought that was shallow of him. A person who so recently came clean after long term deceit cannot be accepted as someone who can now know all the ins and outs of our mental health issue.

    I am not commenting again to draw out this saga – (Remember, he’s apologised (and some people even use the fact that he is with his wife to take further jabs!) but nobody else has apologised nor even fronted).

    I propose that there is too much public talk re mental health. We need to cut it out. Government should focus on reality. JA’s wellness talks are crazy. If National try to keep up with the Jonses in the ‘compassion’ stakes, they will get crazier. They already have displayed themselves as easily distracted despite trying to be secretive.

    I think that celebrities traveling the country to discuss mental health with youth is cringe worthy. I think that government delving into these things publicly is worse – it’s dangerous.

    The balancing force of strange compassion is unfair harshness. Hatred makes mental health worse.

    Reply

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