All three years were false returns

November 5th, 2008 at 11:13 am by David Farrar

The has published further documents on New Zealand First, and they confirm that every single erturn they filed in the last three years was false. The 2005 and 2006 returns can not be prosecuuted simply because the time has expired.

The amended returns state the following amount of big donations:

  • 2005 – $87,684.83
  • 2006 – $67,083.33
  • 2007 – $80,000.00

So that is 234,768.16 that never was declared.

So why was 2007 not prosecuted:

The Secretary explained that the omission of the $80,000 donation was as a result of a misinterpretation of the Act. Legal advice received indicated that the Spencer Trust was “a body of persons involved in the administration of the affairs of the party” and as such when donations were made to the Spencer Trust those equated to donations to New Zealand First and the payment of the money from the Trust to the Party did not amount to another donation.

So the defence is she followed legal advice. The legal advice was wrong. I bet you we can all guess where that advice came from. This was the same legal advice that Winston did not have to declare the Owen Glenn donation. Possibly the same legal advice who gave false evidence to the Privileges Committee?

Also interesting that their argument was that the Spencer Trust was an integral part of the Party. This contradicts Winston who claimed it was independent.

The Electoral Commission accepts that the Secretary had no intention to mis-state the facts in respect of the return of party donations. The Commission also considers that under the circumstances it was reasonable for the Secretary to rely on what she had been told by the Party and by the Auditor, who is a professional and also relied on legal advice, in respect of the classification of the donations in question.

This is quite clever. There is no liability for the professional advisors if they give wrong advice, but the party secretary is protected because she got their advice.

I wonder if the law should be changed to have the Electoral Commission appoint the auditors for a political party, rather than the party?

Finally they note:

The matters the Electoral Commission was required to consider are governed by sections 214F to 214L of the Electoral Act. Those provisions apply in respect of the obligations and actions of the Party Secretary only. As a result the Commission has considered, and this decision pertains to, the actions of the Party Secretary only.

I advocated in my submission on the Electoral Finance Act that parties themselves should be able to be prosecuted for incorrect returns etc. The law currently only allows individuals to be charged, and you get situations like this when people can escape liability by not holding the correct role.

At the end of the day the important thing is that the public now know NZ First received $235,000 of donations over three years though the Spencer Trust, and that Winston has personally benefited by a further $140,000+ of large donations. This is the info that they went to such great lengths to keep from us.

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13 Responses to “All three years were false returns”

  1. Nookin (3,260 comments) says:

    The Electoral Commission record indicates that it was Mr Gates who gave the advice. He based his opinion on the fact that the Spencer Trustees were actively involved in the administration of the affairs of the party to the extent that the gift to the trust was a gift to the party. I wonder who told him that. Because each of the gifts was under $10,000, and because the trust was simply the agent of the party, they did not need to be declared. Funny that nobody in the hierarchy of the party had ever heard of the Spencer Trust despite the fact that it was, supposedly, actively involved in the administration of the affairs of the party. I suppose that the reason why they did not declare the donations the previous year (where, evidently, donations exceeded $10,000) was that Spencer Trust was not yet the alter ego of the party and the donations to Spencer Trust could not be said to be donations to the party. Maybe Spencer Trust was still in its adolescence and was still inveigling its way into the administration of the affairs of the party. Whatever way you look at it, Spencer Trust has been used to disguise donations that should have been declared and that New Zealand First has taken a hypocritical and inconsistent approach to disclosure. The Electoral Commission also noted that it had received conflicting statements from various people involved with the party about donations and disclosures. Time and subterfuge saved New Zealand First, not any sense of adherence to the rules.

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  2. bobux (349 comments) says:

    The Herald is currently seeking feedback on the question “Has Winston done enough for your vote?”

    http://blogs.nzherald.co.nz/blog/your-views/2008/11/5/has-winston-done-enough-your-vote/?c_id=1&objectid=10541211

    Feel free to drop in and share your assessment of the achievements of the Baubled One.

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  3. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    “Legal advice received indicated that the Spencer Trust was “a body of persons involved in the administration of the affairs of the party”

    I thought they knew nothing about any trusts let alone Spencer. Any suggestion that there was a trust recieving money and paying bills was “a Lie.” Yet look at this NZF and Spencer are one and the same!

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  4. Nookin (3,260 comments) says:

    The following is directly from the previously suppressed EC decision

    “The Secretary explained that the omission of the $80,000 donation was as a result of a
    misinterpretation of the Act. Legal advice received indicated that the Spencer Trust was “a body of
    persons involved in the administration of the affairs of the party” and as such when donations were
    made to the Spencer Trust those equated to donations to New Zealand First and the payment of the
    money from the Trust to the Party did not amount to another donation. All the relevant donations to
    the Spencer Trust were for less than $10,000 and, as donations are only required to be reported if
    they exceed $10,000, a nil return was filed.”

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  5. Nookin (3,260 comments) says:

    So is this

    “The Electoral Commission received correspondence from a range of individuals associated with the
    Party containing inconsistent accounts of donations made to New Zealand First in the 2005 year and
    omitted from the return of donations, and indicating that donations in the 2006 year were likewise
    omitted from the 2006 return.”

    Peters can says he has been vindicated to his hearts content. Just like he says he didnt get a helicopter.

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  6. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Think the naming of the secret trust is fascinating.

    Given WRP’s latest adverts on the TV.

    Look at Winston Churchill’s full name on wiki.

    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

    Spooky, and gives a clearer view of a huge personality disorder.

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  7. wreck1080 (3,863 comments) says:

    It needs to be said, Winnie has not been convicted of anything illegal.

    I have to ask why? Is Winnie right in saying that there is an orchestrated plot against him?

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  8. Frank (320 comments) says:

    wreck1080 (162) Vote: 0 1 Says:

    “It needs to be said, Winnie has not been convicted of anything illegal”.

    This is simply the Corrupt process that has investigated alleged complaints.

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  9. wreck1080 (3,863 comments) says:

    Well, I am frustrated that Winnie seems to have committed all sorts of crimes but cannot be convicted of anything?

    What the f**k is wrong with our system?

    Is winnie corrupt or not? I think so, but, why does the legal system think not?

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  10. Nefarious (533 comments) says:

    “I think so, but, why does the legal system think not?”

    Because Helen is his bitch now, for some reason or other. And the pigs and “judiciary” (read overpaid fucking thieves and liars) are her bitches.

    And boy would I love to know what Winnocent must know.

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  11. senzafine (455 comments) says:

    ~And boy would I love to know what Winnocent must know.

    Me too. It must be fucking GOLD!

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  12. burt (8,183 comments) says:

    So this is the new standard of openness and accountability that Helen Clark had promised in previous election campaigns. It’s all about trust….

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  13. NeillR (351 comments) says:

    All three years after Winston took “the baubles of office”. There’s a story to be told here, but don’t expect to read it anytime soon.

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