Three Chinese New Zealanders convicted of political donation fraud

The New Zealand High Court has convicted three New Zealand Chinese businessmen in a political donations trial, and the former member of parliament has been acquitted of all charges.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has indicted seven people for making fraudulent donations to both the Labor and National Party major political parties three times.

Zhang Yikun and his twin brothers Zheng Shijia (Colin) and Zheng Hengjia (Joe) were convicted of making illegal donations of $100,050 (US$57,000) to the Kuomintang in 2018.

Additionally, Zhang was found guilty of lying to the SFO in an interview during the investigation process, and Colin Zheng was found guilty of making a fraudulent donation of $100,000 to the Kuomintang in 2017.

All seven people linked to Labor Party donations have been exonerated after purchasing five paintings for a total of $60,000 at a 2017 fundraising auction.

Judge Thomas Gault, who oversaw the trial, acquitted all of them because he could not determine whether the workers benefited from contributions of at least $34,840.

This includes former MP Jami Lee Roth and three others who were allowed to cover up their names, two of whom are now members of the Labor Party.

Epoch Times photo
Former MP Jami-Lee Ross speaks to the media after being cleared of all charges of donation fraud in Auckland, New Zealand, October 5, 2022. (Epoch Times)

During the seven-week trial, Wang argued that in all three cases Zhang was the true donor and that the donation was split among numerous false donors to circumvent the $15,000 disclosure limit.

The Zheng brothers, Ross and three unnamed individuals are alleged to have facilitated the process and covered up the deal.

The investigation began in 2018, when Ross whistled to then-leader Simon Bridges about $100,000 in donations after failing to secure a top job.

Ross accused Bridges of being a corrupt politician and went to the police with an audio recording of Bridges discussing fundraising. However, an investigation resulted in SFO billing Ross instead.

Who is Zhang Yikun?

Zhang is the founder of the Chao Shan General Association and a wealthy property developer who moved to New Zealand in 2000.

He is also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an organization under the United Front of the Communist Party of China.

The United Front involves thousands of groups that wield foreign political influence, suppress dissident movements, gather intelligence, and facilitate technology transfers to China. report It is by the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy, a think tank.

In 2018, Zhang was named a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contributions to the New Zealand and Chinese communities.

Spokesperson for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Said She packed the news that she might consider advising the king to revoke a person’s appointment to the Order, which would damage the reputation of the honor system, but made no mention of Chan specifically.

Rebecca Chu


Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on the national politics of Australia and New Zealand. Any tips? Please contact her at [email protected]