Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Pressure on Jones over citizenship case

Shane Jones.  Photo / Ross Setford
Shane Jones. Photo / Ross Setford

Labour MP Shane Jones' political future is under a cloud after claims he improperly intervened in a Chinese millionaire's citizenship application.

Mr Jones is facing pressure over his approval of Yong Ming Yan's citizenship application four years ago. Yan, also known as Bill Liu, is on trial for fraud related to his citizenship application.

Last week Internal Affairs case officer Olele Johannes Gambo told the High Court at Auckland that Yan boasted to immigration officials that his political connections would ensure his citizenship application was approved. That was in spite of the fact he had been "red flagged" by Interpol.

Yan's application was subsequently granted by then-associate Immigration Minister Mr Jones in 2008 in the face of warnings from officials that Yan had failed the good character test.

Labour leader David Shearer last night said he had spoken to him over the weekend "and tomorrow I'll be able to give you the full conclusions from those discussions".

Mr Jones was demoted from Labour's front bench two years ago after it emerged he had viewed and paid for pornographic films using his ministerial credit card.

It was too early to comment on whether Mr Jones, "a very valuable member of the team" was likely to face a further demotion or even more severe measures, said Mr Shearer.

Mr Shearer has been calling on Act leader John Banks to be relieved of his ministerial portfolios while police investigate whether he breached the Local Government Electoral Act by declaring donations to his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign from German billionaire Kim Dotcom as anonymous.

But he said last night the questions around Mr Jones' involvement in the Yan case were not as serious as those around Mr Banks donations from Dotcom.

The strength of the evidence against Mr Jones was "very arguable".

Mr Jones has declined to comment on the matter.

- NZ Herald

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