Labour MP Raymond Huo claims he was the target of a nasty campaign leading up to the election that falsely accused him of having a criminal record and then asking police to wipe it.

Huo's lawyer Kalev Crossland filed defamation documents in the Auckland High Court last week against People's Party president Steven Ching and his wife Ailian Su, who he says spread false material damaging to Huo.

Crossland, who said the papers would be served this week, claimed that Ching and Su republished material in the lead-up to the election on popular Chinese social media app WeChat - a popular platform with broad reach in the Auckland Chinese community.

Ching told the Herald he did not write the material, nor did he know who had written it, and legal action against him and his wife was "not fair".


"It's very common in the Chinese community to share information on WeChat if we found something interesting."

The court file says that the materials falsely accused Huo of dishonesty, corruption, having a criminal record, and that he was behind media stories questioning the Chinese military background of National MP Dr Jian Yang.

It further states that Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, when he was Labour Party leader, went with Huo to a police station and asked "Police Officer S" to delete Huo's criminal record.

Goff told the Herald there was no truth to the story.

Huo is seeking a declaration of defamation and legal costs. He questioned who authored the material, suggesting it was designed to boost the popularity of Ching as well as divert attention away from the media spotlight on Dr Yang's background.

Crossland said he asked Ching and Su to provide evidence of the claims, "which they didn't and they couldn't because none of it was true".

"This was done very strategically in the lead-up to the election. If you've got a question mark over you, even if it's not true, it might tip them away from voting for Raymond. It was a really nasty thing to have done.

"Many clients would seek aggravated damages, but Raymond just wants his name cleared."


Huo sent cease-and-desist letters to Ching and Su after the material surfaced. Ching and Su subsequently issued a press release saying they did not write the material, though they found the contents interesting and they had shared it among friends.

Court documents say: "The plaintiff's reputation has been seriously damaged, and the plaintiff and his family has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment and, due to the permanent nature of online publication, will continue to have his reputation damaged."

The People's Party won 1890 votes at the 2017 election, or 0.1 per cent of the vote.

Ching stood for Labour in 2005, but stepped aside after allegations he had misused Government connections. Huo was part of the Chings' legal team that defended Ching when that incident was made public.