Oh joy – it seems Clark Gargle could be cheaper than we thought (if there is any demand for it at all)

Alf feels obliged – in the name of fair play – to record that businessman Donghua Liu has issued a new statement to the Herald about his contributions to the Labour Party.

Whether this means the record has been put straight can not be guaranteed, because a story that can be changed once can readily be changed again.

But for now, it is reasonable to say Liu might not have been as generous to the Lefties as it seemed a few days ago.

This will bring some relief to Lefties and a great deal of satisfaction to Alf, who could not imagine a shrewd businessman wanting to give the proverbial brass razoo to the Lefties.

Oh, and Liu is denying paying as much as was reported in this blog the other day for a bottle of wine in a bottle signed by Helen Clark.

What he is confirming – or claiming – is that he made “close to” $100,000 in total payments to Labour and its MPs – including anonymous donations.

The money was not for one bottle of wine.

According to the NZ Herald today –

Liu, to whom 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 $60,000.

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.”

Hmm.

Maybe a bit of confusion has come into things because Liu has difficulties with the English language.

If Alf has grasped the numbers correctly, the $100,000 figure is the total for 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 – we are told – 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.

Alf would like to think the sources are wrong.

He would be seriously suspicious of anyone willing to pay that much money for such a book.

But let’s go on:

“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.”

The Herald is making the most of a bad turn of events, saying Liu’s 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.

Maybe.

But Alf is mightily releived to learn a bottle of wine with Helen Clark’s signature on it does not command the price it seemed to have commanded in the earlier account of Liu’s largesse.

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