Who does the accounts for NZ First?

September 3rd, 2008 at 1:12 pm by David Farrar

There are more and more questions over NZ First and their accounts. Both NZPA and the Dominion Post have said that is both NZ First’s Auditor and their Accountant. Surely not?

So can someone find out the following:

  1. Who was NZ First’s Auditor in 2005?
  2. Who was NZ First’s Accountant in 2005?
  3. Who was NZ First’s Treasurer in 2005?
  4. Who was NZ First’s Party Secretary in 2005?

To the best of my iformation the Party Secretary in 2005 was not some poor office person (as Helen suggests) but who was an NZ First MP at the time.

Also Audrey Young blogged in February 2008 that the Party Treasurer in 2007 was also a former NZ First MP – . Was he also Treasurer in 2005?

And then we have an interview on Nine to Noon with Peter Williams. Parts are amusing as he rants about Matthew Hooton, and parts are clearly wrong.

Williams said around 5 minutes 20 secs in:

The money that they paid, I think it was about $80,000 wasn’t it? … The moneys that were subscribed by the were paid to the , and in turn the paid the money to NZ First.

But the Spencer Trust was set up in August 2005, and the Vela donations were between 1999 and 2003.

No wonder the SFO doesn’t go along with Mr Williams insistence that it can all be cleared up in five minutes and his latest line that they have made one little mistake in 15 years of flawless behaviour.

Two other stories of note. Martin Kay in the Dom Post says:

When The Dominion Post first put to him in July that NZ First received money through a trust, he said through a spokesman: “It’s a lie.”

Mr Peters’ brother, Wayne, is one of three Spencer trustees. Fellow trustee Grant Currie said on Monday that its only purpose was to channel money to NZ First.

So Peters said it was a lie, yet the lie was his.I am sure Helen just sees it all as another innocent mistake.

Ben Thomas at NBR also points out NZ First are recycling excuses:

New Zealand First’s explanation for why it didn’t disclose a $25,000 donation allegedly funneled through the Spencer Trust will sound strangely familiar to Winston watchers.

The party’s auditor said yesterday it failed to declare the $25,000 donation from Sir Robert Jones in the 2005 year because it slipped people’s attention “during a change in administrative staff.”

That is now the second time – and for the second separate set of accounts – that the party has used the excuse of a personnel changeover for ostensibly breaching electoral finance disclosure laws.

Like all Winston Peters’ rhetorical greatest hits – “if you stop telling lies about me,  I’ll stop telling the truth about you,” for example – “administrative error” may have been too exquisite a line to only use once.

In August this year New Zealand First was let off on the late filing of its return of donations for the 2007 year, because the accepted its explanation the delay was caused by “changes in the upper levels of office holders such that many had not been through the donation return process before.”

New Zealand First missed the April 30 deadline for filing its donation returns. When the late return did arrive it didn’t disclose any donations – so why the delay? It should have been a simple matter to verify no donations over $10,000 (the minimum amount that has to be declared) had been received.

The party denied media reports that its president and secretary had been waiting for the return of Parliamentary party leader Winston Peters from overseas to sign off the accounts (which would have been unusual, since he is not a legal office holder as far as the party is concerned).

Instead the secretary offered up the “office-holder changeover” scenario, and aid there had been a miscommunication between the treasurer and the auditor. The commission decided that was a reasonable excuse, and so no breach of the Act had been committed.

Given how long it seems to take the New Zealand First party to sort out its finances after these periods of flux, the commission may be tempted to ask office holders to double check the zero-return filed for 2007. It is after all apparently quite easy for cash to slip between the cracks in times of HR churn.

I think it would be very prudent for the Electoral Commission to double check the zero return for 2007, especially before the deadline for prosecution expires. The fact that the Party President is on record as referring to a large anonymous donation (a stance he has never publicly recanted) gives them more than enough grounds to start checking.

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32 Responses to “Who does the accounts for NZ First?”

  1. gd (1,780 comments) says:

    Instruction will have been issued from H1 to H2 to advise Dr Helena Catt that is would not be in tyhe public interest for her to exam NZ1s return for 2007 until AFTER the expiry of the time line.

    then the non disclosure can be attrributed to yet anotehr adminsitrative over sight and no action taken

    Its getting more and more like a 3 ring circus with Clark as the chief clown

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  2. Inventory2 (9,371 comments) says:

    I think Williams has gone down this track realising that he is going to be doing a lot of free hours for Peters. This is most certainly NOT a five-minute wonder!

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  3. Frank (320 comments) says:

    Why did Dr Helena Catt leave it for nearly 5 months before lodging a complaint with the Police that was lodged with the Chief Electoral Officer against the Labour Party by National Party Secretry Stephen Joyce, early September 2005?

    [DPF: She had to wait for the donations return to actually be filed]

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  4. democracymum (616 comments) says:

    There are so many lies swirling around at the moment, it is hard to keep up!

    Unfortunately I think this is leading to a dilution of the allegations – an overload of information if you like!

    I challenge the blogosphere to to come up with a “Winstons’ Web of Deception Top 5 List”
    5 lies that he has told in the last 6 months, and then we can forward them to Helen to ask if she will still be
    taking “the honourable member’s word”

    And after we have tackled Winston’s web let’s work on a “Helen’s Hierarchy of Hypocrisy Top 5 List”
    Collectively we can harness the power of the web, and, in the absence
    of Question Time can “knock the bastards off”

    I’ll start it off …

    “Winstons Web of Deception Top Five”

    Lie No.1 He said he wasn’t at the Karaka Yearling Sales, A Picture on the web proved otherwise

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  5. carlyp (25 comments) says:

    Still hunting… but I found this cracker from 2004 http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/content/display_item.php?t=1&i=1376

    “Accountability has to be more than a mantra but in many areas of the public sector it has degenerated into tokenism.

    And in New Zealand First’s view a country where a former Auditor General was found guilty of fraud has no grounds for complacency in regards to public sector accountability. ”

    …. I’d suggest they take a look at their own accountability.

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  6. slightlyrighty (2,096 comments) says:

    Lie Number 2.

    NO!

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  7. getstaffed (8,040 comments) says:

    democracymum – completely agree. the public is getting punch-drunk with all this stuff arriving en mass. i’d like to see each lie drawn out and allowed to solidify before the next one is exposed and hung around his increasingly weak political neck.

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  8. democracymum (616 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty

    Do you agree that evidence of Winston’s deceit during the famous “no” media conference, was
    That he had already received a phone call from the PM (what date) asking him if he had received a donation from
    Owen Glenn?

    I agree getstaffed, maybe David might assemble the lists once we are done. We could also list the
    lies in order of importance.
    It is important we have a clear piece of evidence to support each lie.

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  9. carlyp (25 comments) says:

    Gosh, I would have thought this information should have been easy to find… but even using the internet archive I’m not coming up with anything.

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  10. carlyp (25 comments) says:

    …. ok the Party Secretary info should be in this file http://www.elections.org.nz/uploads/register_18_may_2005_001.doc but the original is down and there isn’t an archived version…

    …. I’m still hunting. This >> http://web.archive.org/web/*hh_/www.elections.org.nz/uploads/register.doc lists Margaret Green but I’m suspicious that its from before 2005, although the lists at the bottom suggest it was being updated up till 2005.

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  11. george (269 comments) says:

    Inventory2 says: “I think Williams has gone down this track realising that he is going to be doing a lot of free hours for Peters.”

    WRONG WRONG WRONG

    Williams is being paid for the the taxpayer. He is being paid for every second of his time.

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  12. John Dalley (314 comments) says:

    6 Million to Act, sounds like an accusation to me so will Rodders be defending Act?

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  13. carlyp (25 comments) says:

    I think I might have found the Treasurer info (from Dec 05) http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/newsletter/dec05/m1.php

    “Kay Urlich has also been with us from the beginning as our Treasurer. It is no coincidence that she leaves this role with our finances in healthy shape, which reinforces the valuable work she has invested in the party.

    Kay has spent many thousands of hours over the years working to ensure that the party had the finances it needed to be successful, but without being financially irresponsible.

    This is not an easy task, and there is no limelight or adulation associated with this role in the party.

    But she has done this most ably for many years now and we all owe her a lot.”

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  14. carlyp (25 comments) says:

    …ok Margaret Green was definitely secretary in 2005 (until 06) and I think the above info is also correct.

    From March 2006 (http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/newsletter/march06/m1.php)

    “Board meetings are under way and we have appointed Board member Brent Catchpole as Treasurer to fill that vacancy. Our Secretary Margaret Green has retired after many years of tremendous service and we will shortly be appointing a replacement secretary. ”

    And just to confirm, Edwin Perry became secretary in mid-2006 http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/newsletter/jun06/m1.php

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  15. carlyp (25 comments) says:

    Beginning to think that I’m not going to find the Accountant/Auditor info. But here’s something else

    New Zealand First Board of Directors (from Dec 05 http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/newsletter/dec05/m2.php)

    Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters MP

    Deputy Leader Peter Brown MP

    President Dail Jones

    Vice President Charles Sturt

    Secretary Margaret Green

    Directors Mark Arundel
    Brent Catchpole
    Lyn Hunt
    Edwin Perry
    Brian Roswell
    Helen Skurr

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  16. Ross Miller (1,618 comments) says:

    So, lets assume the time-line for prosecution was still extant. Who gets to share the cell with the Taiko … all vote NOW

    Winston First (the all knowing Boss)
    Doug Wollerton (the should be knowing President that was)
    Dail Jones (the should be all knowing President to be)
    Kaye Urlich (the maybe knowing Treasurer that was)
    Brent Catchpole (the maybe knowing Treasurer to be)
    Margaret Green (the hack Secretary that was)
    Edwin Perry (the hack Secretary to be)
    the office cat

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  17. bka (135 comments) says:

    Kay Urlich Treasurer Dec 2005. http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/newsletter/dec05/m1.php but has stepped down about then as she is not on the list of office holders.
    Margaret Green Secretary Dec 2005 http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/newsletter/dec05/m2.php

    Edwin Perry became Secretary some time before June 2006

    http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/newsletter/jun06/m1.php

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  18. FletcherB (55 comments) says:

    “I’ll start it off …

    “Winstons Web of Deception Top Five”

    Lie No.1 He said he wasn’t at the Karaka Yearling Sales, A Picture on the web proved otherwise”

    Look… I dont want to appear to be defending Winny because I want the guy gone… but if you want to shoot him down, dont do it with blanks…. He denied meeting Glenn at the 2006 sales, not being there at all… so you’ve already missed.

    On the other hand, when this first started blowing up about six months ago, I beleive he DID deny that NZ first received donations through a trust?

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  19. Murray (8,803 comments) says:

    The most poorly orcestrated littany of lies we’re evey had to endure.

    And we’ve had a few in the last nine years

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  20. edaem (1 comment) says:

    No comments on the NZ First books.
    how can a cheque deposit become a DC
    we have seen the Bob Jones cheque…… so it can’t become a direct credit.
    sorry it can with Winnie

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  21. 1984 (79 comments) says:

    TVNZ certainly reported him as “saying” it, I understand it isn’t in the written response

    “He says he did not go to the Karaka sales in 2006 so could not have met Glenn there, and that he had “no knowledge of where and by whom any donation to New Zealand First was requested.”

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  22. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    ahh,the stench of corruption, NZ1st, a pedigree at the beginning a worm infested sick mongrel now, all that the elderly love now , a sick mutt that needs to be put down.

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  23. 1984 (79 comments) says:

    Just dug out the video from One News archive, and they don’t seem to have any film of him saying it. They throw three bullet points up on the screen, two in direct quotes from the letter, and the ‘I wasn’t there’ one not in quotes.

    Interesting bit of journalism if he didn’t say it at any stage, doing a bit of a Winston in the corridor or something.

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  24. gd (1,780 comments) says:

    Forget the donations issue this is a red herring the time line means that most of them are outside the limit so no effective action can be taken. And this was always the plan by those involved

    But there is one matter that is not time barred and has its beginnings a long long time ago. If the SFO can make the evidence on this one stick then the donations become a mere bagatelle.

    And Luigi and Clark both know the details and that if the SFO does its job then they will make a case that not Williams or any other brief can defend.

    I am pinning my hopes of the SFO not stuffing it up If they dont then its gonna be a very merry Xmas this year.

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  25. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    But the Spencer Trust was set up in August 2005, and the Vela donations were between 1999 and 2003.

    David, you’re surely not falling into the trap of believing something these people have told you, are you? Clearly Peter Williams has.

    Just because someone has been wheeled out to say the Spencer Trust was “formed” in 2005 does not mean it is so. Remember, I overheard muttered conversations back in 1995 / 1996.

    There’s several posible explanations:

    1. What was a very informal organisation with no structure was formalised in 2005 but was receiving monies prior to that. But even though it’s form changed, it’s function and purpose did not.
    2. Paperwork showing the Trust as dating from 2005 has been conveniently manufactured… or, going by what NZF usually say, “discovered” and in fact it existed in some structure prior to 2005. Someone said in comments yesterday “anyone can produce a bit of paper” and they’re right.
    3. Both Peter Williams QC (who clearly supports Winston) and myself (who doesn’t) are liars and/or insane or are both completely mistaken in exactly the same way about exactly the same issue even though we’ve both had privileged access to information, Williams even moreso than me.

    I have informed the SFO of my recollections. Now, I accept that #3 is a possibility – I’m currently in the doghouse for forgetting my mother’s birthday, and I’ve had a lifetime’s practice to get that right – but they will, hopefully, make some inquiries to rule out possibilities #1 and #2

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  26. carlyp (25 comments) says:

    bka… thanks for reiterating the exact same info I’d posted after searching for 3/4 of an hour ;)

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  27. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,703 comments) says:

    I seem to recall hearing today that the SFO has picked up fifteen years of records for the Spencer trust. Am I mistaken?.

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  28. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    I love the Nats new branding in the house referring to the Govt as the “Clark- Peters Government” at every opportunity. Make sure the asssociation sticks -it’s about time they got on to that

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  29. side show bob (3,410 comments) says:

    I find it very disappointing that these elected officals have voted on laws that the people must obey. As many have said if we screw up there would be a very good chance that we would end up in court. How can these arseholes dogde all sorts of laws that would see many of us in the big house. To make it worst our scabby leader calls something like this a simple mistake. This bloody government makes to many “simple mistakes”.

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  30. KevOB (182 comments) says:

    “how can a cheque deposit become a DC
    we have seen the Bob Jones cheque…… so it can’t become a direct credit.”

    I’m no present fan of Winstons.

    The cheque could have been from Jones personal account and paid to Tirohanga, a Jones’ company which direct credited it to Peters.

    This is really a job for the SFO to follow the trail diligently. It seems that Peter Williams has added more revelations of payments by Vela. I would have had fun with this once as a Tax Inspector. It is almost impossible to hide a transaction trail and an attempt to do so may be or become criminal where the electoral law limitations do not apply. The more parties involved now the better, as more inconsistencies may appear, and greater temptation to hide the truth. Even hiding something legal may in some circumstances itself be illegal.

    Has Winston lost his mind to alcoholism? He appears at times to believe a different reality. I have known others like that who have lost all knowledge off the truth. Pitiful.

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  31. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    In an amazing bit of prescience the ABC’s “Hollowmen” series this week deals with a Minister, “a mate of the PMs” who gets into a bit of financial trouble involving trusts.

    My favourite quote (after the media seen through the con) “Why get a CPA if he’s not going to do his job?! A blind trust! Don’t use the term if it doesn’t mean what it says” :-D

    Online for one week only, then it’s replaced by another episode.

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  32. 3-coil (1,199 comments) says:

    Who does the accounts for NZ First?

    Winnie and the boys seem to be very cagey about this one, but it is apparently Bozo the Clown.

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