22 Sep 2016

Goff denies hypocrisy over $150k donation

8:33 am on 22 September 2016

Phil Goff has been accused of hypocrisy over foreign investment after the Auckland mayoral candidate raised nearly $250,000 in a Chinese community fundraiser.

Vic Crone and Phil Goff

Vic Crone, left, has accused Phil Goff, right, of hypocrisy. Photo: RNZ

Rival Vic Crone said Mr Goff campaigned against foreign investors buying existing homes in New Zealand, but was happy to take six-figure sums from the fund-raising event.

A copy of a book about governance in China that Mr Goff owned, signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, was sold for $150,000 to an overseas bidder at the fundraiser over the weekend.

Ms Crone said Mr Goff was happy to take the donation from the Chinese community, despite talking about how New Zealand shouldn't have foreign investment in its housing market.

"So I just see a real irony in that, where is the consistency and principles in this man? He's saying 'I don't want your money in these areas, but I'm really happy to take it to become mayor of the city'."

But Mr Goff told Morning Report today that Ms Crone's accusation were "nonsense".

"The bidder, I don't know the individual personally, he is a New Zealand resident, if not a New Zealand citizen."

He said the buyer was in China at the time, but was a resident in this country, and there was no hypocrisy or inconsistency in accepting the donation when he had argued against foreign ownership of New Zealand

"Absolutely not, and why would there be any relationship between those two things? The 360 people who were there on Saturday night were New Zealand residents and citizens, some of them have been here for generations, some of them have been here more recently, but they are proudly New Zealand citizens, and I have never said that any New Zealand citizen should be treated differently on account of their ethnic origin."

* Join Checkpoint with John Campbell from 6pm tonight for interviews with the Auckland mayoral candidates - on a bus from Hobsonville Point to Auckland City during rush hour traffic.