‘Nats got $150k from China’: Jamie-Lee Ross claims

Independent Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross, under parliamentary privilege, has accused the National Party of receiving foreign cash from China’s Communist Party.

RNZ reported that Ross, speaking in the debating chamber last Thursday, called on National to return about $150,000 which he said he had learned originated from China.

“Ross also sought to make public two flow-charts prepared by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) which he said showed the flow of money but was blocked by the Speaker due to legal concerns,” RNZ said.

“These donations are linked back to China, are linked to the Chinese Communist Party and with ease entered New Zealand,” he told MPs.

RNZ reported that Ross said he first learned about the origins of the donations last year after taking his own concerns to authorities.

“What I learned was that large sums of money, adding up to around $150,000, coming directly out of China in Chinese yuan, over [two] successive years ended up as political party donations.

Jami-Lee Ross giving a statement after appearing in court. Photo Jim Birchall

“Two individuals – Shaoli Xie and Shaona Zhang – were used as conduits for the donations.”

The funds eventually made their way to the National Party and that was where the money remained, Ross said.

He said National should return the donations or transfer the money to the Electoral Commission, RNZ reported.

“I doubt the National Party knew at the time that the money was foreign – I certainly didn’t either – but now that they will have that information to hand, they need to show leadership and do the right thing.”

Meanwhile the National Party, from who he is estranged, was quick to respond on Thursday.

“The National Party is unaware of what Mr Ross was referring to today in Parliament and have not seen the document he referred to,” a National Party spokesperson said.

“We stand by our previous statements on this matter and are confident that the court will establish the clear facts.

“Until that Court process is complete it is not possible for us to say more at this stage.”

Ross appeared in Auckland District Court on February 25 to answer charges brought by the SFO in relation to National Party donations impropriety.

He and two others each face two charges of ‘Obtaining by deception’.

The charges relate to donations paid to the National Party.

He and his co-defendants have denied the SFO charges.