National has had the wind in its sails of late. The party leader has been perky and on-point, even as a revenge book by Judith waits in the wings. Simon Bridges has been notching up some powerful hits against the government. And as yesterday’s policy gusher illustrated, this is an opposition party that is energised, focused and productive.
So today’s donations expose is a distraction they could do without. They need this like a hole in the head.
The Herald has revealed that $150,000 was donated into the party’s coffers by Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry NZ. A New Zealand registered company that is totally Chinese owned. The power behind it is billionaire racing mogul, Lang Lin. His nickname is Mr Wolf.
The money was deposited into Todd McLay’s Rotorua electorate party branch account. And that was after he met with Lang Lin, on the sidelines of a G20 summit, as Trade Minister – and again in Rotorua.
Now, there nothing’s illegal about this donation. The party fully disclosed it.
But that fact Mr Wolf is a foreign individual using a New Zealand registered company to funnel a massive political donation to the National Party looks blatantly cynical.
It is a go-around, a circumventing of the restrictions governing donations from foreign individuals. Those rules don’t extend to the use of foreign-owned New Zealand registered companies. And this case vividly illustrates why that loophole needs to be blitzed.
Perception is all-powerful here and foreign sugar-daddies lining the coffers of New Zealand political parties stinks. I despise it.
I don’t care whether its George Soros types on the left, or National’s billionaire Chinese chums.
Foreign donors should be completely barred from filling our political coffers. Whether they’re seeking access, favours or influence or not, it sullies the perceived integrity of our political system. It doesn’t look clean. It smells fishy.
As the SIS boss recently confirmed, foreign donations are a vector of concern.
She is right.
And National needs to turn off the taps from allowing cosy Chinese money to fatten its coffers. It causes more trouble and more murk than its worth.