War of words between Bridges and Ross escalates as Ross releases secret phone recording; Bridges forced to detail dealings with Chinese donor; Ross' 'corruption' claims remain unsubstantiated

War of words between Bridges and Ross escalates as Ross releases secret phone recording; Bridges forced to detail dealings with Chinese donor; Ross' 'corruption' claims remain unsubstantiated
Jami-Lee Ross outside the Wellington Central police station

National Leader Simon Bridges has responded to expelled MP Jami-Lee Ross releasing a recording of a phone conversation between the pair, saying Ross is a "terrible person" who "did his worst" today (Wednesday).

Bridges is adamant the June 25 recording doesn't support Ross' claim that his handling of a supposed $100,000 donation from Chinese businessman, Yikun Zhang, was "corrupt". 

Ross claims Bridges breached the Electoral Act by instructing him to mask Zhang's identity by splitting the donation up into smaller amounts. 

While Bridges on Tuesday refused to say whether he or the National Party received a donation from Zhang, he now acknowledges they did.

He says he attended a dinner with Zhang on May 14, because Ross "knew him very well" and was "incredibly keen" for the pair to meet. 

He then attended a fundraiser on May 21 for Epsom MP Paul Goldsmith. Zhang was there and told him he and his supporters wanted to donate around $100,000.

Bridges says he thanked Zhang and clarified this was something Ross should "deal with" because of the "friendship" Ross had with Zhang and because of his party fundraising expertise. 

Bridges says he withheld these details from the media on Tuesday because being a “cautious” lawyer, he wanted to make sure he’d talked to his party and done all his due diligence first.

Nonetheless, Bridges isn't concerned about Ross laying a complaint with police. Nor is he worried about the level of support he has as Leader from his party.

Rather, he accuses Ross of trying to set him up, blackmail him and defame him.

He also suspects he secretly recorded a number of conversations over "many many many months".

So what's in the recording? 

The jury is out over whether the content of the recording provides any substance to Ross' accusations. 

What it does however reveal is Bridges' calling National list MP Maureen Pugh, "f***ing useless".

In the recording, Ross tells Bridges the donation from Zhang has been received and is sitting in the Botany electorate account. He asks Bridges, “What would you like done with it?”

Bridges says, “Gee that’s good,” and notes as an aside that he needs to follow through on his promise to have the donor over to his house for dinner. He says Ross should join.

He then says: “I just think we want it for these advertisements and the like. We want it for the things we’re going to do over the next year or sort of outside of the – not outside of the party – but you know, say we want to do some more attack ads, say we want to do another regional fuel one… We just want to be doing those things right…”

Bridges says he needs to raise the issue of the donation with the party’s president, Peter Goodfellow.

Ross then alludes to the donation being broken up into smaller portions. He says: “Donations can only be raised in two ways – party donation or candidate donation – and party donation has a different disclosure, which is fine.

“And the way they’ve done it meets… the requirements where it’s under the particular disclosure level because they’re a big association and there’s multiple people and multiple people make donations. So that’s all fine.

“But if it was a candidate donation, it’s different. So making the party donations is the way to do it. Legally though, if they’re party donations, they’re kind of under Greg’s name as the party secretary.”

Bridges responds: “I’m going to tell him [Goodfellow]. I think he’ll accept it. I just need to explain to him what it is I want it for…

“Good work though man, it’s a lot of money.”

Ross goes on to say he discussed “candidacy” with the donor.

Bridges responds: “It’s like all these things, it’s bloody hard. There’s only so much space. It depends where we’re polling. Two Chinese would be nice, but then would it be one Chinese and one Filipino? What do we do?”

The discussion then turns to getting rid of old list MPs to make way for new ones, Bridges saying, "I reckon it's all three of our MPs who... not thinking of obvious ones like [Chris] Finlayson or [David] Carter, but actually we just want them to go. Like Maureen Pugh's f***ing useless."

Ross adds National MP Nicky Wagner's name to the list, and Bridges says he doesn't want them all to go "this year".

Where to from here?

Bridges has apologised to Pugh and characterised the tenor of his conversation with Ross as "blunt". He's also referred to himself as a "rough diamond". 

Ross remains on a mission to take Bridges down. 

He says he has other secret recordings, including one that reveals Bridges allegedly trying to push him out of the party by saying four women had accused him of harassment. Ross says Bridges told him if he kept asking for "natural justice, that it would not be just four women. It would be 15 women".

Ross' accusations that Bridges tried to disguise donations from the 'Cathedral Club' and an Exclusive Brethren-related company, Cubro Ltd, remain. 

He is believed to be getting advice from right-wing "professional campaigner" Simon Lusk, speaking to him as recently as Wednesday morning. Lusk is one of the key figures in Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics.

Ross will remain in the headlines, as he runs in the Botany by-election as an independent. 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

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18
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This is just the National Party finally finding something that they can catch up with Australia on.

21
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Oooh that's not going to go down well with "ethnic" National supporters, paraphrased - do we need one Chinese, two Chinese, ah well we might need a Filipino, better than two Indians...

16
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Yep. It appears that "ethnics" are simply there for votes. I would feel pretty rotten if I were in those communities and heard this.

14
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Well I guess that's what happens when you vote along ethnic lines rather than actual competence.

Well I guess that's what happens when you vote along ethnic lines rather than actual competence.

Huh? The maority of National voters are voting based on their attitudes and beliefs. Nothing to do with competence. Ethnic minorities are doing the same, but are naturally biased towards getting their voices heard.

My wife belongs to one of these ethnic groups but doesn't feel "rotten" as the party does a fair bit for the Asian communities when in power. The businesses donating thousands will make millions when Nats returns to power.
I believe the political game in Asia, and also other parts of the world like US, is more quid pro quo than what most Kiwis are used to.

22
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Yeah,well maybe it needs to be less quid pro quo as this is NZ and that is the way we like it.

21
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The businesses donating thousands will make millions when Nats returns to power.

I see. You believe in the power of crony capitalism.

Yes, telling. Sad.

Nationalist party?

18
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Hmmm, my brothers previous employer had a guy that came around in a van with gear in it to sharpen knives and shears and other cutting implements.. I think he'd do a booming trade right outside the beehive today.

10
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Unfortunately it's not the smoking gun it was made out to be.

However. Goodbye Simon. Those ethnic communities won't like being played as pawns when they are the ones filling the trough.
Todd McClay will be very lucky if he survives.
Paula Benefit will be done too if JLE releases the recordings he 'claims' to have of them threatening him. (I dunno, it looked like JLE was lying to me when he claimed to have those.)

If he gets three, National will be ruined. It will almost be at the point that a re-branding is required.

16
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Paula Benefit was always a piece of work.

And totally agree if all 3 get nailed, the Nats are toast.

BTW, Barclay's Linkedin profile describes his career as "Former New Zealand Member of Parliament."

That's the first shot from the gun, I'll wager he's got at least a 6 shooter packed away. Depending if he just wants to take down Soimon or if he wants to go for the National party, there's dirt that he's got.

I dunno. He has been 'truthful' so far.
But his body language changed significantly at the press stand up when he mentioned the other tapes.

Random guy on the internet (me), says there's more. If I were me (which fortunately I am) I'd bet on me.

The Machiavellian in me sure hopes so.

Hi Solidname
Please explain how it is a"shot from the gun".
The claim was about breach of electoral law. Usually if one is going to fire a shot it has always been the strategy to fire one's best shot first; so please explain clearly how Bridges has specifically breeched the electoral law.
Your reference to "other shots" seems like wishful hope on your part.
References to other people and maters regarding party lists in a supposedly private conversation may be embarrassing but they are not breeches of electoral law for which Ross promised.
I look forward to your specific references to breeches of the act.

well printer8 recall there was an old artillery saying as “sighter, marker, shot!” personally, given all the hype and hyperbole, tend to agree with you that there is likely to be more smoke than fire. The thing that seems to have been forgotten is what caused these two prior “cronies” to fall out so violently. Sure there was the leak but that in itself was of little consequence. When thieves fall out? Who will benefit ultimately? Just maybe someone (the real leaker) has set them both up beautifully. Now who in the National ranks would have that Machiavellian capability?

Quite right. Where's the bit I was expecting about "chop the cheque up into 10 and deposit the pieces separately". No gun, no smoke, but lots of hiss-and-roar I guess!

Though...He didn't say anything when it was spelt out to him that the donations were intentionally split up.

Surely someone with ethics would have objected to that?

14
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You'd think Simon would be smart enough not to say such things outright.

What does seem clear despite the protestations yesterday that everything was untrue is that they were discussing the donation and how it came in split to fly under disclosure bounds. Simon's awareness and participation in that vs. the line he was taking yesterday. Full transcript on the Granny Herald: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12144129

Also, the implication of pay-to-play with regard to getting MPs on the list is pretty concerning.

More questions around detail will be the clincher. At one point Ross says;

the way they've done it meets the disclosure requirements...it meets the requirements where it's under the particular disclosure level because they're a big association and there's multiple people and multiple people make donations, so that's all fine.

What is the name and nature of the "association" referred to and was the $100K actually sourced from multiple persons, i.e., individual traceable donations specifically made to the National Party by individual persons? As opposed to say, a Treasurer of the "association" writing out a single cheque from the association/organisation at large - in which case it would not fall below the threshold.

From Jami's stand up outside the police station today, he pointed out that it is the National Party who receives and banks these donations (not him as an electorate candidate) and files the return. He claimed the donations were split into 7 donations (against individual named persons) of $14,000 each and one of $2K-odd - the balance to $100K. Who sourced the names wasn't made clear - but the implication was that the $100K arrived in the Botany electorate account as a lump sum.

This is just one aspect of the detail that the police will have to investigate.

The recording is inconclusive but there is much in it that requires further investigation.

32
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China are putting in more puppet MPs and making a mockery of our sovereignty. People born outside NZ shouldn't even be allowed to be MPs for this very reason.

The census results will reveal how large the 5th column is as one only needs to be a rubber stamped resident to vote.
For a very cheap price we're allowing another population to ethnically replace us.

By the way Labour are doing the same things they just haven't been caught yet.

22
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Citizens only for voting and standing for election, gotta be

That would still let people like Peter Thiel run for MP.. Perhaps limit it to citizens by birthright to be an MP, no naturalized Citizens?

I doubt that if we were talking about a person born in NZ to Chinese parents the sentiments were going to be very different. You either accept citizens as equal or don't. The former (not being equal) brings the real risk of national NZ interest being undermined because of divided loyalties. The latter undermines the values underpinning western democratic cultures.

At least there are far, far fewer of him than just residents, and him personally, I'd say he's a terminal sociopath and would not want to be near that many people at once, not to mention who the hell would vote for him?

10
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yes, in Thiels particular case i'm not worried.. But I really don't like the idea of someone that bought their citizenship, and has a few billion dollars to bankroll a campaign being able to run for MP or PM. I believe Theil had spent a grand total of 12 days in NZ when he obtained citizenship. Thats BS.

I hope NZ cynicism factor will be going through the roof right now and we can see right through it

Perhaps in future we will be more cautious with handing out citizenships. I just don't think no matter how much you want, that you could exclude people who have become citizens.

Citizenship is cheap. Both National and Labour are corrupted and have sold citizenship in the past. What makes you think it's not happening today?

With these revelations it just might have to stop. I believe National are far more fast and loose with this, anyway.

Err, any evidence to share? Anecdotal or otherwise?

The evidence is very easy to find on Labour's own website - MP Raymond Hou. Do you really think this pro-china labbiest, Herald writer, lawyer person is trustworthy?

Since arriving in New Zealand from Beijing in 1994, Raymond has traversed successful careers in journalism, as Asian affairs reporter for the New Zealand Herald and law, as a Partner at Shieff Angland Lawyers .... Raymond is an Honorary Advisory of Asia:NZ Foundation and an advisory board member of NZ China Council.
https://www.labour.org.nz/raymondhuo

In 2008 Labour MPs (Jones, Samuels, Cunlife) obtained a passport for donor William Yan overruling internal affairs staff.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6950133/Case-of-a-well-connected-m...
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6943391/Tycoon-boasted-of-his-MP-m...

At least not a teacher of, and probably one himself, spies who lied when he sought citizenship or residency here, and having been found out is STILL an MP.

13
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Maybe it's just a taster. But I think Simon knows what the true meaning of "Embarrassing" is now

Lol true that

25
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China = National Party

28
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What I have heard convinces me that all the likes of Bridges, Bennett and Jami Lee Ross himself and a number of others are interested in is power, nothing else, they don't give two hoots about New Zealand and New Zealanders other than what they can get out of it for themselves. I reckon you'd have to burrow down deep to find anyone in this line up who does give an actual damn. Ross is doing this for revenge. The people Bridges is bad mouthing is probably about where any decency starts in their ranks.
And isn't Bennett talking with Ross' doctor a breach of privacy?
What a bunch of self interested, entitled a.h.les.
I am not surprised in the least.

I Agree. You have successfully defined a politician.

I would add "most" politicians. They are human afterall, sharing all our foibles n shortcomings (ultruism takes concerted effort, self a full filament not so much). There's hopefully still some gems in parliament, they just tend not to make natural / popular leaders, this the nature of putting others before oneself I would think

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Balance_fallacy

This is a tactic used in the US for disenfranchising people from politics entirely. Do not tolerate it or you're also complicit.

10
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This is good old dirty washing! While National is at present caught in the spotlight, don’t think for one moment this sort of uncouth and unethical behaviour is restricted to that party. It is a sad and sorry indictment on the low calibre and guttersniping nature of our MP’s in general. With the exception of some very good and hardworking MPs, there are those that are not there for the good of New Zealand or our people. They are there purely for their own self interest and ego. To borrow a nicety from the legal fraternity, 90% of MPs give the rest a bad name.

A bonus ball!

Lots of unexpected thrills and spills in the tape to add some spice to the otherwise rather bland and over-hyped offering.

The closed doors stuff has been merrily thrown up on the line for all to see.

Liquor cabinets at the Beehive getting a run for their money tonight.

National MPs visiting wellington central police station to enquire about borrowing a stab-proof vest..

15
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Haha makes all of Labours problems in opposition look like a nice wee round of tiddlywinks

MP Maureen Pugh must be feeling really good right now. Bridges should say what he really thinks about her.

Hang on – all good apparently:

Bridges has since released a statement saying he had "unreservedly apologised" for his comment.

"It was inappropriate. I value the work she does as the National List MP based in West Coast-Tasman & as our Associate Spokesperson for Children," Bridges said.
"She has gracefully accepted."

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12144110

10
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I am sure she is all sweetness and light after that.

15
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After calling her F**king useless, I somewhat question the genuineness of his apology.....

I dont think he was going to make it to the next election anyway

Tell me the last time you thought Simon Bridges was actually sincere.

Yeah, me too

Sounds like something i used to hear in a work place canteen on a daily basis.Truth.

I hope you have a very big bucket of putty because it's going to take a lot to fill these cracks

Hi thegic,

Bridges wasn’t going to make it to the next election BEFORE the bloodbath.......

Crusher might well be the next Prime Minister. While the softest part of her is her teeth - that’s exactly what a lot of National voters like.......

TTP

I will eat my hat if she is the next pm. Charmless person

Well hopefully it's a Kippah and not a Sombrero.

Collins is not electable. Too much baggage, and too polarising in the party. National could do a lot worse than bring back English. Fair, decent and tough. And boring is good. For me, the big winner here is Winston Peters. Tricky, but a statesman, and a leader with solid values. This JLR situation will reshape National, and its seriousness shouldn't be underestimated. For one thing, Labour/Greens will be emboldened to take more radical measures, especially around energy and tax as the Opposition is in a shambolic disarray. One more thing. How on earth can the Nats hierarchy select such idiots in the first place?

I wonder if he was commenting on an experience beneath the sheets...

Um is it a good idea for someone calling themselves theclap to be talking about between the sheets activities :O

Oww lol. Hey, it's a health issue mate. Stud in manky clothing styles? Thank you to my grandson who assisted with the technical aspects of my sign up. I'll get him back :). What do ya call 123 one-handed claps?

Self abuse?

Lol, u win, 123 hands down... (note to amend Will re fav grandson)

12
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No much substance on chopping the check up - more what they wanted to spend it on. The back and forward vote buying based on race however is worse than the donation - from both Ross and Bridges. Low brow leadership all around. NZ deserves better than this from our elected leaders.

No direct instruction to chop the donation up, in this call. But what is there seems to show:

1. $100k Donation Received. Bit different to the protestations yesterday.

Ross: Hey you know at Paul Goldsmith's function you saw those two Chinese guys, Zhang Yikun and Colin? You had dinner at their home?

Bridges: Yes.

Ross: They talked to you about a hundred thousand dollar donation…

Bridges: Yep.

Ross: That is now in.

Bridges: Fantastic.

2. This donation was never disclosed publicly, and the two discussed how it could be recorded. As a party donation, while used for what he wanted?

Ross: Party donation has a different disclosure which is fine, and the way they've done it meets the disclosure requirements... ...it meets the requirements where it's under the particular disclosure level because they're a big association and there's multiple people and multiple people make donations, so that's all fine. But if it was a candidate donation that'd be different. So making them party donations is the way to do it. Legally though if they're party donations they're kind of under Greg's name as the party secretary.

Bridges: We need to tell them, I get that. I get that. I'm going to tell him…I think he'll accept it I just need to explain to him what it is I want it for. Unless I get him to…leave it with me. I might talk to McClay as well; see what he's got up his sleeve. Because Peter is going to be with me at this meeting in Wellington, is all. If I then brought him after that…

3. Implications of pay to play democracy

Ross: Yeah they're good people. Now there's no catch or anything to it. You may recall at the dinner they did discuss candidacy, and another Chinese candidate.

Bridges: Two MPs, yeah.

Ross: Colin Zhang? The younger one, he's put his name in for Candidates' College and so I assume he'll get through and we'll make some decisions as a Party further down the track as to what we want to do with candidates.

Not good, considering Bridges' protestations yesterday.

Don't think the recording is that incriminating; to me it seems simple Simon is going to have further discussions on how to handle the donation, and how to spend it.
However the Q is: what actually happened to the $100K; we are not told, which is a worry, does not appear to have been declared at all..
Reminds me of the old days of the Clark govt, lurching from one scandal to another for 9 years, was hoping that at least that was all behind us.
Peters is quite quiet; the ghosts of his racing industry donations fiasco don't need to be resurrected.
A sad time for NZ politics: a senior MP gaining his leader's confidence and taping everything and plotting his(and his) downfall over an extended period.
As Trump would say:
"We'll see what happens"
Which will be no National govt for a decade and some windfall votes for minor parties.

JLR explains what happened to the $100K in this stand up outside the police station;

https://www.facebook.com/nzherald.co.nz/videos/336369910500461/

All of what he says there will form part of his official statement to the police. The lump sum donation was split up into 7 lots of $14,000K (to be under the threshold) and 1 of the balance of $2,000-odd to take the total to $100,000. Banked and reported on in electoral returns by the Party. The question of whose names were used against those splits was one Jami was unable to answer - he saw a list of names but none of them were familiar to him - so he wasn't sure where they got them from.

At least that's how I heard him explain it.

I imagine Winston will be priceless on the 6pm news tonight….

The people of Tauranga preferred Bridges over Peters and thats something that Peters cannot change no matter what happens from here.

Peters got some much needed good roading and second harbour bridge done in tga, all good stuff considering the rapid growth of the little town at the time. Bridges not really very popular there so much in reality, without Key beside him. Bridges was a Key Pawn is all. He'll never be PM. I'd be kinda shocked if he's still at the National helm by Monday. Tga is the retirement capital still, many Christian folk too who vote Nat's. I can't envisage many of that sort accepting his blunt and ruthless banter in recording, signs of buy a list mp seat, not to mention the crass locker room summation of the between the sheets encounter. Dunno, but that's my pick. Gone burger, token female co-leader / deputy Benefit in all

Bridges suits Tga to the ground. Its a ruch whitemans playground and also corrupt, always be a blue seat.

Sad n true. Bridges is well known enough in Tga, and the business people I know with scruples don't think much if him, and voted accordingly

He was priceless in Parliament today. Tore National to shred with his usual big grin between outbursts of laughter.

Good documentary:

Review: 'The China Hustle' Is The Most Important Film Of 2018

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2018/03/30/review-the-china-hust...

An unsettling and eye-opening Wall Street horror story about Chinese companies, the American stock market, and the opportunistic greed behind the biggest heist you've never heard of.

Storm in a tea cup. Some embarrassing words, but hardly corruption. Some day, I expect that Ross will sit down and wonder why he threw away the rest of his life for this, because he has no future in any part of the World where his name can be put into a search engine.

I've been unemployed/unemployable for 4 years,in ten years time it will be 14 years for me and 10 years for JRL.

Yes - I keep thinking why do it son?

Although I've frequently observed the saying that "s*** always floats to the top" regrettably holds true.

11
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may be he'll be the newest Howick based RE, ready for the next up cycle..

Nicky Hager will be starting his new book now.

Won't have to, it's writing itself.

12
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The Bridge has collapsed and Simon has drowned. .
End Of Story

JLR knew this recording contained a couple of “bombs” outside the donation cut and rename innuendo.

So then, was the high road corruption shake out something of an enabling side show – with the demise of Simon and a few other adversaries the real block buster.

If so – House of Cards take a leaf.

21
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The implication of Chinese money and influence has just truly sunk in, we've all speculated on it, we've suspected it but now, it's for real. I feel a bit sick about it, tbh
Oh my god, just listening to that two faced numpty now. Multicultural, he is saying, yeah, bloody right.

14
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Where's my country gone?

Good petition here - let's get it back;

https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/fix-political-donations?utm_s...

This organisation is fantastic - plenty of wins in areas that they focus their attention on.

Sign, donate, let's fix it.

Cheers, Kate! Done and done.

My pleasure!

Ditto

It was sold from under you, by people ...over you.

Oh dear. The bubbly seems to be starting to go a bit flat over in the socialist party rooms. The leftie media brigade who were yesterday hysterically insisting Bridges should immediately pack his bags because a rouge MP with recent mental health issues made a wild allegation, must this afternoon have received instructions from the comrades to adopt a more moderate tone. The focus seems to have shifted to Bridges talking candidly about the performance of some MP’s. Shock, horror. The nation will be appalled.

I'd have thought only a monocle was required

Snap em in half, one side for middleman, one side for Ex Expat?

Omg imagine the one that has to take the LEFT one!!

Deep ! Most won’t get it.

Only if they're one eyed though....

For those who don't get the reference to the monocle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyQlpt5xEEw

Yesterday: Bridges says everything JLR is saying is untrue.
Today: Tape shows the two of them discussing a $100k donation, one that never turned up on the electoral disclosures as it came in split into smaller amounts.
Middleman: Nothing to see here?

There could be. But you and we commentators here don’t know that - yet. I can handle the earnest tribalists and party apparatchiks on interest.co expressing their articles of faith and hope, all good fun, but supposedly serious journalists like Du Plessis-Allan making quantum leaps based on accusations from a seemingly troubled man, are in quite a different category and deserve to be called out.

Like it or not – I think the latest Herald headline says it all - “Death By A 1000 Tapes”.

It would seem JLR thinks he has nothing to lose and like a good old fashioned DJ, “the hit’s will just keep on comin’.”

JLR isn't smart enough to work out that he's already lost it all and he risks actually reinforcing the position of the man he's trying to ruin. It reminds me of once listening to a spurned woman telling my wife how disgusting her ex's hygiene habits were and how useless he was in bed. My reaction was to tell my wife afterwards that the ex had a lucky escape and I'd tell him as much next time I saw him. It's a fundamental truth that we may love the salacious gossip but we think less of the one that tells it. JLR will possibly end up in the vernacular like 'Claytons' did, for the wrong reason.

I disagree. JLR seems a very clever young man of sorts. As far as I'm aware, JLR is married once to one woman. I've not heard anything about him on par or beyond, with you and your wife's issues with partners/ex wives/ ex husbands that you share about, yet do you hold yourself above n better? Any who, he seems smart enough. I anticipate his ego will diminish somewhat as he redefines his public life, but he comes across across as clever enough for his age as an ex front bencher and bridges bff

Custard. Presumably JLR would have tabled what he thought were his strongest cards first. The 1000 tapes death is wishful thinking from the Heralds Trevett I suspect. I reckon we’ll be bored to racking sobs when they are released. JLR will quickly become an irrelevant Chelsea Manning minus the novelty of a sex change. Unless there are genuinely some buried land mines, in which case the wunder kid from Tauranga is doomed.

The culture warrior journo cult seemed at first to believe the public would be outraged by revelations Bridges used blunt (and sometimes innapropriate) language when talking about his MPs to senior trusted team members but will twig that in the real world most people consider this type of conversation unremarkable, in the context of conversations with trusted senior management confidants. Bridges will score points for proactively seeking to make the hard decisions on caucus regeneration.

You may well be right.

I won’t bang on but I think there’s just too much juice in the tank, with possibly more to come for this to simply go away for the lack of interest.

After all, this isn’t business – it’s politics.

I comprehend that Nat Tga supporters will be reprehensibly disappointed in Bridge's choice of words, tone and being... and will quickly and decisively distance themselves fully further from him (they already were). Dunno, but I'd punt on it, all the dosh on Simon Bridges to be no leader by Monday. Meh, I can imagine he'll still mill around on the benches tho

The leftie media brigade? By my count, prominent centre-right journalists outnumber prominent centre-left ones

Fritz. NZ has very few right wing institutions and almost no RW political parties.

True indeed. Both major parties campaigned on increasing WFF and the accommodation supplement last time around. National has very nominal harkings to the right, but doesn't generally resemble them.

Many of the prominent media are well right of centre. That was my point in response to your 'leftie media' comment. Which is bullshit.
Think Soper, Hosking, Hawkesby, Du Plessis Allen, Roughan etc etc
All well right of centre

It seems the collapse of the "coalition of losers" is now postponed indefinitely.

Macadder. Don’t misjudge the attitude of Kiwi voters to political treachery and personal betrayal. Provided JLR does not produce some genuinely compromising material, his actions could give end up giving Bridges a boost.

This is genuinely compromising.

Bridges said yesterday that everything JLR was saying was untrue. Today, he's shown discussing a $100k donation that was never disclosed and that he'd said yesterday references to were untrue. And he's also shown discussing pay-for-play MP positions in National.

Rather optimistic to assume that because there's no "Hey mate, split this into amounts below $15k so we don't have to disclose it" that there is nothing compromising.

Forensic accountant can suss it out in 5 minutes. Open the books....

A boost over the fence and out the door. He looked like an idiot before, this is just confirmation. Bring on the crusher.

The Nats have their own ABC club, and she is as tainted, if not more, with Chinese money as Bridges is. Dream on.

Bridges and Bennett piling on the smarm (that's how you spell it, isn't it?)

Sounded like Lee was leading the conversation deliberately to record Bridges in a bad light.
Had they already fallen out by then?

I suspect you may be right, one is as oily as the other, but I think it is very good this light has been shone on the goings on behind closed doors.

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Something missed by most analyses is that Bridges was taking the subversion of donation restrictions up with Peter Goodfellow, the party president. So this goes further than Bridges. If the tape is anything to go by, this conspiracy to subvert campaign donation law goes right to the top of the party.

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Agree. It is very serious. Let's not forget the Panama Papers et al

That's how I read it - and the transcript needs to be considered alongside what JLR's statement to the police contains as well;

https://www.facebook.com/nzherald.co.nz/videos/336369910500461/

The lump sum was split into 7 $14,000 donations + 1 of the balance, if I heard that right from this stand up.

It is a sad reflection on the calibre of most of our MPs. Bridges incredibly naive and a poor judge of character. JLR..well, no words for that guy. As for pay for play, Hillary and McCain have set the example for politicians everywhere unfortunately. The only answer is to set single term limits on all politicians, period. As for any arguments about experience, etc, spare me. What have Winston and his ilk done for this country?

Not that I'd vote for him but Peters has been pretty good in the house as an opposition MP, and now that NZF is part of the majority, we've got the regional development fund earmarked to develop hydrogen fuel infrastructure in Taranaki, and the waka jumping legislation which helps improve proportionality as measured on the Gallagher index.

The benchmark for "pay for play" is undoubtably Trump and the current WH administration - crony capitalism at its ugliest, taking Saudi money for services rendered, as per reinstating Iranian sanctions and providing classified info on King Salman's enemies. Then there's the bone saw embassy dispatch of the WP reporter, the WH knew his life was at risk but did nothing.
The National Party have still a ways to catch up with that level of evil, but they have made a modest start. Good on them to show us their true colours.

If there was not enough evidence for people before, of what Trump is, they way he is "handling" this Khashoggi thing should be a game changer for them.
I thought a while ago that Trump was emboldening authoritarians/totalitarians around the world and this will not help.
Trump and the Nats are demonstrating just how self serving and amoral the right is, all the while, in large numbers, calling themselves Christians.

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Okay so its clear the voice recording started months ago so what I'm thinking is there has been an extensive number of recordings made since then. You don't just make one or two recordings once you start or feel like your being made to be the fall guy. Sorry but its all over for Simon, he has to go now and the Nats need to see it soon or the next election will be a joke. So its #bringbackbill or bust.Third time lucky ???????

I believe that Bill is an impeccable character and an honourable politician, the challenge however is that he was the number 2 for Surgeon Key who butchered and sold off the country for 30 pieces of silver. A genuine leader would have fought against that folly so he's not the man but I wish him well for his future.

I do think that you're right about the 'Ross tapes' though, this is just an opening salvo today.. Remember he's the one controlling the agenda of information releases here, so I think you're right, why open up with all guns blazing, take some time with a few shots to see where the enemies are hiding first. There will be a few sleepless nights ahead for Nat party members and donors... 'now when I said that, was he there?'

He was. I rated Bill English for character. Until the Todd Barclay affair and his lying to the public about it.

However, Bill did have the good grace to look distinctly uncomfortable about lying to New Zealand, a trait shared with too few other politicians.

Bridges and Bennett - Prince Smarming and Aunt Lydia

dp

I think " Smarmy Army" is the one you are after??? n'est ce pas mon ami?

Mucky business.

How about this then. Someone did some homework it seems "Interesting that the potential "Chinese candidate" to run for the National Party suggested was Colin Zheng. There is a Colin Zheng named as Manager of Zhang Yikun's company: KCC Construction." As appeared in the comments on none other than a Stuff article

Nothing to see here, move along...

A 'gotcha!' moment for those of us who are worried about external influences on our political party....now what do we do about it?

Here's a good start;

https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/fix-political-donations?utm_s...

I highly recommend this organisation as effective campaigners.

And, write to the PM and MPs - explain your concerns. Time to take back the country - as someone said earlier.

Well, it's obvious isn't it? Those who break the law and shame our country, go directly to gaol. Let's not dilly dally. Send a STRONG message to all nations.... NZ is actively addressing corruption. Panama Papers et all

Anyone else think that today's release may have just been Ross' warm up act. Like a prelude to a 2 week series of taped releases that get juicier and juicier? If you have chosen to become a politician going rogue... Why shoot the cannon at the enemy in the first salvo? Surely you start with a few pistol shots, advance with a rifle and then unload the cannon. He's apparently been smart enough to tape a couple of conversations, if that's true, why would you fire your cannon and waste your main armoury before seeing what type of resistance you're facing?

The Bridges sex tapes are coming....
Judith, ohhh, thats rully good!

Makes you wonder how many Nats have gone to bed tonight with the question 'When I said that, was he there?'

The participants surely took on the character of a beehive today, there were stings being felt left right and centre...

I suspect you are correct Nic.

Just the way Jami was bouncing around with apparent confidence and very relaxed tells me that there is a lot more to come. Next will likely be a tape will be released with Bridges threatening to extend the sexual harassment allegations from 4 to 15

This is going to roll on for months!

I'd be surprised if he had anything better - he would lead with his best punch. As to his behaviour; article (https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/10/17/281200/jami-lee-ross-four-women-sp... ) from women he's been screwing/screwing over suggest he lies all the time, is a sociopath and narcissist who lacks awareness of how repugnant his behaviour is. His behaviour of last few days, and months is pretty erratic by normal standards and any confidence he might be displaying comes from someone who's judgement seems questionable at best.

He's setting himself up for a lot of legal problems, and may eventually figure out it is better to shut up and try and salvage what he can of his life rather than drop himself further in the poo (realistically he is going to have to move overseas and/or change his name to have any sort of future career)

Potentially, but I'd highly doubt that Simon would sue for defamation over the donation claim. (In fact, he's already said he will not.)

That would be tricky for Simon to do that, as you'd likely end up with JLR and Bridges having to make their statements about the $100k donation under oath in court.

the Nats are looking like a right bunch of clowns.
Next election is Labour's to lose

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Young Kiwis, take heart. $100k may not be enough for a deposit on an Auckland house but it could get you a position on the National back bench, which involves little work and pays well enough, albeit requires unquestioning loyalty and willingness to do ...stuff.

Preferably be Chinese. Or at a minimum, Filipino (you guys are almost as good). CCP membership is ideal, though United Front is a reasonable proxy. Ideally, have a cheque book with multiple available pages, and a calculator with an obelus.

Apply within: donorjobscheme@national.org.nz

Regards,
SB

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"Wait there's more"...

With that $100K you also get a bonus place in the NZ Honours List as well - no requirement to speak English either.

Very useful on your CV when you leave Parliament.

"Very useful on your CV when you leave Parliament."

And to then secure a position as director or consultant for some Chinese bank or foundation or trade organisation...

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Oddly enough I feel I bit badly for Simon – but then I get over it and the reality bites that he was toast anyway.

The Chinese money/influence thing really grates – it’s been so stupid obvious for the last few years – perhaps now sufficient numbers will wake up and demand some sort of push back.

If so, then this circus has been well worth it.

Chinese money and influence is buying our soul.
I'm not a Trump fan but I do admire him sticking it to the Chinese.

It's more appropriate to my mind to think of it as CCP money that is buying influence.

Lots of good intentioned Chinese people and families are being ripped off by our export education ponzi - as per the article posted earlier here on interest.co.nz.

Many arrive - put up their money to get the degree - and then can't get a job in their field of study. They've been sold education as being a path to residency. When it isn't, they get exploited and scammed a second time around by bad eggs in our society in their desperation to find post-qualification work to gain that path to residency.

Point I'm making is that not all "Chinese money" coming into NZ is buying influence. There is Yuan entering NZ backed by the CCP; Yuan brought in by money launderers; and then there is Yuan brought in by honest, hard working Chinese citizens (students and tourists mainly).

Trump is sticking it to the CCP, not the Chinese people. It's an important distinction to make, I think.

A good alternative view. But why was Bridges on about 'his new house'? Is that how it's done these days - buy a house in a good area and get it bought off you at a 'good price' after you've been compliant? CCP money is buying influence - everywhere. We know it. It's what we do about it if we indeed want to do anything about it at all....

You are right. The Chinese I meet in North Shore are happy to be here which implies they are happier not living in China/Hong Kong.

Opposition attempts stabs itself in public, just like the left did in the last ten years. Kinda funny and good for soundbites for a couple of day but Winstons interview wins as the funniest.

End of the day....chinese trying to influence outcomes with a pile of bank notes. Is this really any different to Dovers taking cash for residency or Hone taking Dot Coms money?

No its not. Sad that our Pollys are better than this.

wow national are in panic mode this morning, they have gone to a place that was a big no no, dragging in personal relations and you can see whos fingerprints behind this( PB), you can see why WP would never sit beside her on a cabinet table she is an evil piece of work, the sooner she is out the better for national
"The sex files: Women speak out about National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross"
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12144375

This story is evolving by the hour. All the dirt is coming out thick and fast now. JLR is gone burger from Politics in fact he had better be looking for a smaller island to live on. An independent reporter on the radio that has been working on claims of affairs for a year. Its looking more and more like he saw the end coming and is trying to sink the whole ship.

What are the chances this could evolve into a political #metoo expose across all parties? There has been salacious gossip around politicians for the decades that I’ve been following it. Some at the PM and aspiring PM level. Inappropriate relationships with staff and media. I hope this exposes the many hypocrites out there and openly wonder why Winstone was so defensive out of the gate. Fun times ahead.

because he has been in parliament the longest and knows where all the bodies are, PB should have learnt the old saying those in glass houses shouldn't be the first to throw stones.
this has the potential of coming back on national and wiping out a lot of careers

Winston's stand-up routine in Parliament was interesting. Telling Paula Bennett she's the very last person who should be raising such issues as JLR's conduct as a married man. Skeletons.

Winnie has plenty of history, however, I do not think it will have involved the sort of behaviour sheeted to JLR, I think he might have even made Condoleezza Rice go weak at the knees.

One of the best recipe: Cook 6 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat until browned, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest; drizzle over 16 cups hot popcorn. Toss with 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Enjoy the delicious popcorn watching this drama.