5 Mar 2020

Jami-Lee Ross in Parliament links National donations to Communist Party

7:14 pm on 5 March 2020

Rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross has used the legal protection of Parliament to accuse his former National Party of receiving "large amounts of foreign donations" linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

Jami-Lee Ross talks to media after it was revealed the Serious Fraud Office is investigating his complain about National leader Simon Bridges' disclosure of political donations.

Jami-Lee Ross. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

Speaking in the debating chamber, the independent MP 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.

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

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.

"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.

"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."

In a statement, a spokesperson for National said the party did not know what Ross was referring to and had not seen the document he had sought to table.

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

"Until that court process is complete it is not possible for us to say more at this stage."

Ross and three Auckland businessmen are facing charges laid by the SFO. All four pleaded not guilty in the Auckland District Court to charges related to two $100,000 donations paid to the National Party in 2017 and in 2018.