The NZ Herald has a story which reminds me of the Three Stooges, as NZ First officials have given four different reasons for their “administrative error” of not reporting a $50,000 donation in 2005:
- Auditor Nick Kosoof issued a letter saying “the office of New Zealand First made an administrative error
- MP Dail Jones, president when the return was filed in April 2006, yesterday said it was Mr Kosoof who “saw it [the donation] and forgot about it”
- NZ First’s treasurer at that time, accountant Brent Catchpole, pointed the problem back to the party, saying he could not give Mr Kosoof the full records as “a lot of the information wasn’t handed over to me as it should have been”
- Kaye Urlich, the treasurer when it was banked, denied Mr Catchpole’s claims that records were missing, saying “he got everything he needed”.
So what excuses will be made for the false 2006 and 2007 returns?
Also Peter Williams continues to show his ignorance of electoral law:
Meanwhile, Mr Peters’ lawyer friend Peter Williams, QC, yesterday revealed that the Spencer Trust had received $80,000 from the Vela family and that New Zealand First had handed over records to the SFO.
Mr Williams told Radio New Zealand he “presumed” the Vela money had gone to New Zealand First in amounts under $10,000.
The Spencer Trust was formed only in 2005 so the Vela family’s $80,000 is different from the reported $150,000 given to the party between 1999 and 2003.
That will be fascinating if the Velas have given $230,000 in total with no disclosure. Someone joked to me that if one of their horses wins the Auckland Cup, does that mean they have got their donations back!
But Williams is wrong in saying that if the money was paid over by the Spencer Trust in amounts under $10,000 it would not have to be legally disclosed (he said yesterday there had been only one accidential law break). The law requires donations from the same source to be totalled up over the calendar year, and if the Spencer Trust is a separate entity to NZ First then money from the Spencer Trust has to be added together over the year (even if the individual donors to the Spencer Trust were under $10k).