Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

National denies Todd McClay helped facilitate $150k donation

The National Party is denying allegations then-Cabinet minister Todd McClay helped facilitate a donation of $150,000 to the party in 2016 from a company owned by a Chinese billionaire.

Todd McClay Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The allegations have been made by former National MP Jami-Lee Ross, who provided documents to the New Zealand Herald, including an invoice showing the donation was paid into the party's Rotorua electorate bank account, and details of a cluster of calls to and from Mr McClay around correspondence with the donor.

Mr McClay said he met the donor, Lang Lin, in July 2016 when he travelled to China as Trade Minister.

He said ministry officials were with him at both meetings and there was no discussion of a political donation.

Mr McClay later met Mr Lang in his Rotorua electorate where he indicated that his New Zealand business, Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry NZ Limited, would like to support the National Party.

"My understanding is that it's a New Zealand company that made the donation, that it is within the rules - both of the Electoral Act and New Zealand law,'' he said.

Mr McClay said he was present when a phone call was made between Mr Ross and Mr Lang to organise the donation.

He said at the time he was there as a National MP - not as a minister or the MP for Rotorua.

Electoral law does not allow foreign donations above $1500, but New Zealand-registered companies are considered local even if they're foreign-owned.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the donation is outside the spirit of the law.

"We have a law in place that's meant to prevent that yet we have an example here of where something lawful might have happened but it's outside of the spirit of what we're trying to achieve,'' she said.

Ms Ardern wants the Justice Select Committee to look at whether there's a loophole when foreigners use New Zealand companies to make donations.

National Party leader Simon Bridges said the party and its MP have not broken any rules by accepting the donation.

Mr Bridges said Mr McClay was not seeking donations while he was a government minister.

He said the donation was "old news".

"This was disclosed a couple of years ago. It was all there for anyone to see, in fact there have been questions about it in the past, but there was no conflict and it is a New Zealand company legally."

Mr Bridges said he has never met Mr Lang, the man behind the donation.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>

Gordon Campbell:On Kobemania, Palestine And The Infrastructure Package

Quick quiz to end the week. What deserves the more attention – the death of a US basketball legend, or the end of Palestinian hopes for an independent state? Both died this week, but only one was met with almost total indifference by the global community. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Double Standard That’s Bound To Dominate The Election

Are National really better political managers than Labour, particularly when it comes to running the economy? For many voters – and the business community in particular - their belief in National’s inherent competence is a simple act of faith. More>>


Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Dice Are Loaded Against Women In Public Life

If they enter public life, women can expect a type of intense (and contradictory) scrutiny that is rarely applied to their male counterparts... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Harry/Meghan Affair, And Iran

Those “Meghzit” headlines seem apt, given how closely Britain’s January 31 exit from the European Union resembles the imminent departure from the Royal Family’s top team of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. For young Iranians, the accidental downing of the Ukrainian airliner is just the latest example of the deadly incompetence and dishonesty of their leaders... More>>