The Wong connection | The Jackal

22 May 2012

The Wong connection

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Labour MP Shane Jones has spoken publicly for the first time on his granting citizenship to a Chinese businessman against official advice, saying he stands by his decision.

It comes as Prime Minister John Key accused Labour leader David Shearer of being "hypocritical" in demanding Act leader John Banks be sacked while accepting his own MP Shane Jones' word he had acted properly in the case.

Mr Shearer yesterday said he accepted Mr Jones' assurances that he followed proper processes when he approved a citizenship application by William Yan, also known as Bill Liu, in 2008.
William Yan
The difference is that there's no evidence connecting Shane Jones' decision with favours from William Yan... It looks really bad, but as we all know looks can be deceiving. Over-ruling the advice of Internal Affairs officials to grant Yan residency was obviously stupid, but its not as if Jones hasn't displayed a lack of brains in the past.

The Banks Dotcom fiasco on the other hand has irrefutable evidence that Banks or his cohorts failed to declare donations from the wealthy philanthropist, and furthermore Banks requested more money in return for political favours. That in my opinion is a clear cut case of corruption which needs more than just third party assurances to sweep under the carpet.

The fact that Bank's is also under investigation by the Police, while Jones is not and Shearer waited until the evidence connecting Banks with Dotcom was reported before he requested the Act party leader be stood down seems to have eluded Key. Shearer had reason to make such a request, whereas John Key does not in relation to Jones.

But what makes me wonder who exactly William Yan, also known as Yong Min Yan, Bill Liu and Yang Liu, was talking about when he claimed to have friends in high places, is this Dominion Post article from Saturday:

Mr Key said he had "two relatively superficial meetings" with Yan during the 2008 election campaign.

He was introduced by MP Pansy Wong. Mrs Wong, along with former Te Atatu MP Chris Carter and Mr Samuels, lobbied for Yan to be granted citizenship in 2008.

Mr Jones over-ruled Internal Affairs officials' advice and granted citizenship, despite the fact Yan was red-flagged by Interpol and wanted in China on fraud charges.

At the time, immigration officials - acting on instruction from minister David Cunliffe - were also investigating if Yan's permanent residency, granted in 2002, should be revoked.

The allegations of special treatment may be serious enough to warrant an investigation by police.

You'll remember former National MP Pansy Wong... She resigned as a Minister after misusing her parliamentary travel perks for trips to China on which her husband conducted private business activities, which is specifically prohibited.

And what exactly did Yan say again:

"He said he had a lot of support from members of Parliament ... he was going to take them to China," Internal Affairs case officer Olele Johannes Gambo said.

When exactly these boasts were made by Yan is not reported, but there is no question that they were made prior to William Yan gaining residency in 2008, two years before Wong stepped down to avoid further investigation.

The Fairfax article that broke the story aslo reported:

The high-ranking officials were stunned when then Cabinet minister Shane Jones approved the application one day after getting his file. They were certain Yong Ming Yan, also known as Bill Liu, who had been red-flagged by Interpol, stood little chance.

But today, the NZ Herald reported:

He [Jones] also rejected claims in Court he had approved citizenship the day after the file was passed on to him. He had received it on 14 July 2008 and it was approved on 6 August 2008.

Is Jones stupid enough to make such claims when an OIA request would easily show who is telling the truth... I think not, and this puts huge doubt on the validity of the information contained in the Fairfax article.

Jones still needs to explain why the F he gave Yan residency in the first place, but this one might just turn around to bite the rightwing spindoctors in the arse!

Update: Well here is one explanation:

Mr Jones says he was told that Mr Yan would be “jailed, executed and his organs harvested” if he was sent back to China.

“That to me comprised grounds for a humanitarian decision,” Mr Jones says.

He confirmed those were the words used to describe the situation.

“When a Government official in a minister’s office says such a thing so graphic that I actually wrote it down.”

Mr Jones says he has the words written on file.