Controversial businessman Donghua Liu has issued a new
statement to the Herald confirming "close to" $100,000 in
total payments to Labour and its MPs – including anonymous
donations - but clarifying that the money was not for one
bottle of wine.
Liu, who Labour gave permanent residency against official
advice, says his earlier signed statement on the wine auction
was "capable of two meanings" and after repeated inquiries
from the Herald he says he wants to clarify what he spent the
$100,000 on. The signed statement obtained by the Herald on
Sunday said that at a 2007 Labour Party fundraiser, he
"successfully bid on bottles of wine including one bottle
signed by the then Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Helen Clark,
with a contribution of close to $100,000".
The previous sentence in the signed statement said dinner and
a boat trip on the Yangtze River in 2007 with a group
including Rick Barker, the Minister for Internal Affairs at
the time, which Liu estimated to cost between $50,000 to
Today, Liu said: "I did say I made a contribution of close to
$100,000 and that is my closing comment in my statement…that
is how much I believe I have donated in total to Labour and
some of their MPs during their last term in Government."
He said the figure was the total payments to Labour and its
politicians which included the wine auctions, a $2000
donation to the Hawkes Bay Rowing Club, the Yangtze River
trip and anonymous donations to MPs.
"I have no reason to inflate this number. It's as best as I
can remember," said Liu.
The signed statement makes no mention of Liu winning an
auction for a book, although Herald sources said he paid
$15,000 for a book signed by Ms Clark.
"Again, as a private donor I donated to both Governments in
good faith and without expectation. It is not my
responsibility to make the appropriate political
declarations," said Liu.
"Some of these donations were made anonymously which was
perfectly legal and so such donations will only ever appear
in some individual donation returns as anonymous."
His confirmation of the total sum of $100,000 will still
leave Labour with a headache as it searches records for
donations and the links between senior MPs and the wealthy
businessman which emerged last week.
The Herald revealed party leader David Cunliffe wrote a
letter for Liu's residency application, despite previous
denials, and also Mr Barker's dinner with Liu on the Yangtze
Labour had earlier attacked the National Party for accepting
'cash for access' from Liu and others, and had criticized
National's granting of citizenship to him, again against
National MP Maurice Williamson was also forced to resign from
his ministerial portfolios last month after the Herald
revealed he had called police officers about the criminal
prosecution of Liu.
- By Jared Savage of the New Zealand Herald