Jami-Lee Ross accuses National of holding donations linked to Chinese Communist Party

Jami-Lee Ross has used the protection of parliamentary privilege to accuse the National Party of holding $150,000 in donations linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

It's not clear whether the allegation is related to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into two $100,000 donations to the National Party.

"The National Party had been the beneficiary of large amounts of foreign donations," Ross, a former National MP, said in Parliament on Thursday.

"These donations are linked back to China and linked back to the Chinese Community Party, and with ease entered New Zealand."

Ross added, "What I learned was that large sums of money adding up to around $150,000 coming directly out of China in Chinese yuan over successive years ended up as political party donations."

Ross hasn't made these allegations before. He did so in the House today because parliamentary privilege protects him from legal action like defamation.

"These funds eventually made their way to the New Zealand National Party," Ross said. "The New Zealand National Party still holds those funds. The National Party is still holding $150,000 in donations made over two successive years."

Ross, now an independent MP, is facing SFO charges over two $100,000 donations to National that were allegedly split into smaller sums so they didn't have to be declared.

It stemmed from claims Ross made in 2018 that National leader Simon Bridges asked him to break up a $100,000 donation from businessman Zhang Yikun - claims Bridges has always denied.

"The foreign donations I mentioned earlier all have connections to the Chao Shan General Association, the founder and chairman of the Chao Shan General Association is Zhang Yikun," Ross said.

Zhang Yikun is sharing the dock with Ross and defending the same SFO charges.

"The largest party in this Parliament has been the beneficiary of large sums of foreign money," Ross added. "That money is linked to an individual who is linked to one of the top three Communist Party United Front representatives in New Zealand."

He also attempted to table and make public a flow chart he said was from the SFO, claiming it shows "a flow of money from China to New Zealand and to the New Zealand National Party".

But House Speaker Trevor Mallard wouldn't allow it because of the ongoing court case, despite Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters leaping to Ross' defence.

The National Party released a statement saying it is "unaware of what Mr Ross was referring to today in Parliament and have not seen the document he referred to".

The statement added: "We stand by our previous statements on this matter and are confident that the Court will establish the clear facts.

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

Zhang Zikun hasn’t yet responded to Newshub's request for comment.