Police not charging over false electoral returns

November 4th, 2008 at 5:39 pm by David Farrar

The have announced (as expected) that they are not charging the party secretary of NZ First over their false 2007 donations return. The media will no doubt report this as a clearance for NZ First, but they fail to understand the difference between a law being broken, and whether an individual can be prosecuted for it.

Let there be no doubt that NZ First have broken electoral laws – their 2005 and 2007 returns were false. It is possible their 2006 one was also.

The reason there are no prosecutions is for two reasons:

  1. The time limit has expired for 2005 and 2006
  2. Only the party secretary can be found liable under the law, and only if she knowingly broke the law.

So let us be very clear. The lack of prosecutions are not because no law was broken. They are because the time has expired for some of them, and only the party secretary can be held liable for the other.

Winston will claim vindication, but this means as much as his claim that he never campaigned from a helicopter. Thanks to the media, the Privileges Committee and the SFO, we have learnt the following:

  1. NZ First filed false donation returns in 2005, 2007 and probably 2006
  2. Winston Peters filed false pecuniary interest returns in 2006 and 2007
  3. NZ First is now known to get major funding from big business interests, something they had gone to massive lengths to conceal
  4. NZ First is known to use a secret trust – of the sort they have decried so often
  5. Winston was found to have lied over not knowing about the donation
  6. Winston has personally benefited by $140,000 from private donors
  7. Winston has been proven to have lied dozens on times on everything from Owen Glenn, to the , to what the Trust does, to not soliciting money, to not flying on a helicopter
  8. Documents from his former staffer, Ross Meurant, suggest that NZ First sold policy for cash or at the least allowed corporate donors to greatly influence their policy, and proposed a strategy for NZ First that it becomes a party of narrow sectional corporate interest that will fund it – a strategy that appears to have been implemented and is in total contrast to the public brand they portray

National incidentially never ruled Peters out on the basis he had broken the law. They ruled him out on the basis he could not be trusted, and I doubt any intelligent person could really claim he can be.

On a related note, the Police have not yet said what they are doing about the unauthorised NZ First signs that were referred to them months ago. It is weird they have not managed to announce a single decision on all the other EFA/EA breaches that have been referred to them.

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33 Responses to “Police not charging over false electoral returns”

  1. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    (1) DPF: “So let us be very clear. The lack of prosecutions are not because no law was broken. They are because the time has expired for some of them”

    Which as I recall is very similar to the reason Act did not get into Big Trouble over their free offices. But like you said yesterday, there is a big difference between lying about something and simply not declaring it. (Although this seems to be the kind of semantics you are critical of Winston for above?)

    (2) DPF: “It is weird they [NZ Police] have not managed to announce a single decision on all the other EFA/EA breaches that have been referred to them.”

    So – are you *really* saying it is ‘weird’, or do you mean ‘sinister’…?

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  2. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    So, let me get this straight; a politician (and holder of an “Office Outside Cabinet”) and his political party can do all the stuff you have listed above, DPF, and there is no legal penalty for it, only the hope that punishment will take place at the ballott box?

    Of course, is it just possible that this “justice” is not even, and it depends WHO you are?

    Either way, can we all say, all together now,

    “BANANA REPUBLIC” ?

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  3. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    So really the police are misleading the public.
    They should have come out and said we can’t prosecute because the time frame has elapsed.

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  4. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    SOCIALIST BANANA REPUBLIC

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  5. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “BANANA REPUBLIC” ?

    SOCIALIST BANANA REPUBLIC-

    Drive without a seatbelt and they’re down on you like Public Enemy No.1. What a basket case country.

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  6. sbk (310 comments) says:

    Short and sweet Philbest.

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  7. freethinker (685 comments) says:

    We need to know exactly what reason the police have given for not prosecuting apart from the time limit so it is clear if there is any implication of police political partiality. Is the inability to prosecute a party secretary only if they knowingly broke the law a precedent that I could use to defend say an expired rego or does this excuse only apply to this particular legislation or just political party officials? Where is Graeme Edgeler when you need him – please come back.

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  8. dad4justice (7,976 comments) says:

    Winston and Helen think justice comes in a can and the police are just wasted space Liarbour lap dancers!!

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  9. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Patrick Gower at the Herald says NZ First have been cleared of any wrong doing whatsoever.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-2008/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501799&objectid=10541105

    In this matter, I’d rather get my information from this site:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/11/police_not_charging_over_false_electoral_returns.html

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

    Just let the tax man loose on him when National sweep to power!

    That will wipe the smile off his smug, chopper face!

    The wanker will have spent the money and will be interesting him to pay up thye fines and interest as well!

    Poetic Justice.

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  11. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Whats the point of charging the poodles party, they need help not prison, oh thats right they have shut the nut houses down, what a bloody shame.

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  12. dad4justice (7,976 comments) says:

    side show bob , maybe they could reopen Lake Alice lock up for the mentally insane and call it Lake Helen?

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  13. Dale 08 (32 comments) says:

    Lets get this streight,lied to parliment,lied to his fellow mp’s ,lied to the PM,lied to the privilege committee and lied to the voters. What more do we need? I like Winston I would love to have a beer with him,I think hes been too important to himself for too long. Its a sad ending to what could have been a great political career.

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  14. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Top idea d4j and a much better use of tax payers money I must say. Personally I think a special camp could be set up somewhere on the Auckland Islands for these clowns.

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  15. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    no way bob – peters will start rooting the pigs and ruin the diabetes cure…

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  16. dad4justice (7,976 comments) says:

    Pig fuckers must be nicked with a rusty old freezing workers knife.

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  17. musthafabuck (100 comments) says:

    Hey Winnie I know you read this blog, you can’t help yourself eh you look in the mirror chappie you.
    See you after after the election old son, you have had the free ride, now it’s time to pay…sorry about that tricky.

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  18. Nookin (3,178 comments) says:

    When the electoral commission made its decision not to prosecute, it was held at reasons pending the outcome of the police investigation. Now that the police investigation has been completed, the electoral commission has released its reasons and they can be found on the website. The position is pretty much as David explained. This is not a vindication of the party. It is a decision that the party secretary did not knowingly filing false return. The party secretary has also established that she had no intention to mis-state or conceal facts and undertook all reasonable steps to ensure that the information in the return was accurate.

    In this case, the auditor had some misgivings about Spencer Trust and obtained a legal opinion. The legal advice was to the effect that Spencer Trust was a ” body of persons involved in the administration of the affairs of the party”. when donations were made to Spencer Trust they equated to donations to New Zealand First and the payments of the money from the Trust to the Party did not amount to another donation. Because they were all under $10,000, they did not have to be reported and therefore a nil return was filed. So, the secretary relied on the auditor. The auditor relied on the solicitor. The electoral commission said that the secretary did not “knowingly” file a false return.
    The letter dated 2 October 2008 from the auditor says that the auditor was advised “that sums totalling $80,000 paid to the Spencer Trust were paid not to the credit of that trust but for the credit of the New Zealand First Party and were received by the Spencer Trust as an agent for the New Zealand First Party. All this sounds eminently plausible until one remembers that just about everyone who had anything to do with the New Zealand First hierarchy disavowed any knowledge of Spencer Trust which makes one wonder how it could possibly have been a body involved in the administration of the affairs of the party.

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  19. burt (8,027 comments) says:

    Watch Winston make his comeback campaigning to change the electoral campaign funding laws so that scurrilous MP’s of dodgy character can’t rort the donation disclose laws with impunity.

    I once suggested he could make a comeback against Labour campaigning that people should not trust Labour because they were crooked enough to back him. But then I though it through and remembered what happened to Taito Field when he uttered dissent, Winston was wise to be loyal.

    Winston eh, he’s probably leaving politics with 14 years of bad behaviour retrospectively validated and a final fling of 3 years of anything goes.

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  20. Nookin (3,178 comments) says:

    The return for the period ending December 2005 disclosed a donation of $87694.83 from Spencer trust. The 2006 return disclosed a donation of $67,083 .33.

    The Electoral Commission records that it 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 which were omitted from the return of donations. The same applies for the 2006 year. The commission simply noted that the time for prosecuting any potential offence in those years had expired. The commission also noted that there had been a change in party secretary.

    In the circumstances, it would have been inappropriate to prosecute the existing secretary. She does not appear to have been actively involved in the administration of the affairs of the Party to a sufficient degree to know whether Spencer Trust was, essentially, an alter ego of the party. The party officials would have known that. Winston would have known that. We are unlikely ever to find out enough to make a considered judgement. We do however have a very reliable benchmark namely the Winstonometer. The more shrill and angry his protestations, the greater the degree of guilt. I think that I have heard that he has demanded the resignation of Rodney Hide. Shades of Audrey Young and the $100,000. QED.

    It is annoying to see reference (the Herald) to the effect that Winston has been cleared. Winston is part of the machine that deliberately withheld the information relating to Spencer trust that would have exposed the previous secretary to prosecution had the matter come to light in time.

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

    DPF, whilst it is amusing that Labour are advertising on your site, along with KiwiBank.

    Just like on TV. No real coincidence there!

    Were you asked to quote for NZ Police, KiwiRail, Contact, Transpower, tv3, or KiwiSaver?

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  22. Michael E (274 comments) says:

    Private Citizens making a false return to the IRD or the Companies Office and you can never get out of it.

    Politicians have a six month time limit on their false returns.

    Do as I say, not as I do?

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  23. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    I agree DPF with your post and I am concerned that big business interests are donating to political parties.

    By the way where did the Waitemata Trust and the Ruahine Trust get their money from? Surely for the sake of our democracy the source of their funds ought to be disclosed?

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  24. wynkie (86 comments) says:

    I understand all Winston ever wanted to do was retire from politics gracefully feeling proud of his achievements – namely having achieved a free trade agreement with the USA.

    Instead come Sunday he’ll be a defeated looser and the laughing stock of NZ chased by the media who will take great pleasure in getting their last revenge by embarrassing him publicly in his defeat.

    Come Sunday Winston will be a man without baubles who is a few years off receiving super himself and probably less than a decade from residing in a rest home suffering from dementia or brain damage due to excessive whiskey consumption.

    Or maybe before that …. with a few more affidavits from some key people he may yet find himself hauled before the courts and in the clink for a period of time.

    A pretty sad end for one who started life in a tent, who had a natural flair for politics, and could have achieved so much had he been honest, demonstrated integrity and kept his ego and drinking under control!

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  25. bruno 32 (22 comments) says:

    The poodle was in the Hinds tavern late sunday night ,traveling Timaru to chch. A few doses from the top shelf,the shaking slowed and he was off again on his mission of lies ,deception and total confusion. How sad is that ?

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  26. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,820 comments) says:

    The CORRUPTION ends on 8 November.

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  27. Colin (88 comments) says:

    OECD Said:
    The CORRUPTION ends on 8 November.

    The Results?
    KFC goes into receivership!
    A large number of surplus Helicopters.
    Etc.

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  28. DamnedAngry (242 comments) says:

    I’d sure love to know where he’s been stashing all those personal donations, along with the ones that haven’t been uncovered yet…Cayman Islands maybe?

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  29. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Another KEYSTONE moment for the NZ Police.

    Its going to take a while to restore any kind of confidence in the lack of police force.

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  30. Suzanne (26 comments) says:

    Winston was never going to be guilty of fraud – the SFO and Police was a whitewash. BUT GUILTY of hiding dontations from his adoring public who then are convinced he is a victim of conspiracy. He is of his own making.

    In 1993 a trust fund was set up. (The ‘Winston Peters fighting Fund) (WPFF) It was transparent and the whole country knew about it and PEOPLE dontated to help with legal costs. The party people knew about it. It was set up because Mr New Zealand First claimed he would not accept big business funding.

    Most of us remember!

    The media should be asking why he stopped using the transparent WPFF trust – replacing it with the secret Spencer Trust.

    I was an trustee and we ran the trust PROPERLY and in the way it was intended. It was to fund legal costs so what excuse can be made to form the Spencer trust?

    Yes this election is all about Trust.

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  31. Frank (320 comments) says:

    The SFO and the Police whose members are in the Service of the Crown have disadvantaged the Voter in favour of Peters. this corrupt action is in breach of sections 99 to 116 (Bribery and Corruption) of the Crimes Act of 1961.

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  32. Suzanne (26 comments) says:

    musthafabuck I dont think you are right. I dont think Winston would rise up this far to read the blogs. The cronies read and report back to him. ( I used to be one)

    They do his dirty work – like leave rude (annon) messages on Gray Eatwells phone for giving the media the Helicopter photos.

    So his people want him protected at all cost even if this means that they are prepared to cover up his lies.

    They are so foolish. They break the law for him and they will take the hit when telecom prosecute them.

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  33. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    He can’t even turn a computer on Suzanne. Hell he has other people to open his bottle for him.

    Also someone else to pay for them as well.

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