Labour hides $430,000 donation for over a year

May 10th, 2013 at 9:08 am by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has published the 2012 donation returns from registered political parties. They appear to reveal a major breach of electoral law by the Party.

Donations over $15,000 only have to be disclosed annually, but donations over $30,000 must be disclosed within 10 working days of receipt.

Labour’s return shows they received $430,259.33 from the estate of Brian Dalley (ironically a professional property investor who made his riches from capital gains) between April and July 2012. They were required to disclose this to the Electoral Commission within 10 working days, but the Commissions say they were only notified on 9 May 2013. Their disclosure is 12 months late.

Unless there is an incredibly good reason for this, I presume the Electoral Commission will ask the Police to prosecute Labour. Not only does their Leader forget a massive US bank account for four years, the party fails to disclose a $430,000 donation for 12 months.

Other donations declared are:

  • ACT – John Boscawen $24,000
  • Conservative – Colin Craig $1,618,600
  • Social Credit – Murray Gouk estate $25,000
  • Greens – various MPs totalling $233,487
  • National – Chris Parkin $16,850
  • National – James Crisp Ltd $17,850
  • National – Roncon Pacific Hotel Mgmt $22,000
  • National – Scholar Hotel $24,000
  • National – Graeme Douglas $25,000
  • National – Cyril Smith $29,950

Also of interest is the disclosure of the total amount of donations received under $15,000 in brackets.

For donations between $1,500 and $5,000 National received a total of $255,000 and Labour $27,000. However for d0nations between $5,000 and $15,000 National had $380,000 and Labour $240,000. So Labour gets most of its money from large donors while National receives a fair amount from moderate sized donors (below $5,000).

UPDATE: According to Felix Marwick of NewstalkZB, the Electoral Commission have decided to take no action. I’m staggered.

Can you imagine what would have happened if National failed to disclose a $430,000 donation from a property developer for 13 months. It would be the lead item on the TV news, with opposition parties demanding the PM front up over the issue.

We live in a country where almost no electoral law transgression has been prosecuted in the last 10 years. It’s outrageous.

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61 Responses to “Labour hides $430,000 donation for over a year”

  1. Fox (206 comments) says:

    Unless there is an incredibly good reason for this, I presume the Electoral Commission will ask the Police to prosecute Labour.

    Knowing the Electoral Commission, something towards the effect of “oops we forgot” should prove a more than sufficient explanation to be let off the hook.

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  2. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    I am sure that all the Labour MPs who called on John Banks to resign will now do the right thing and resign themselves. That means there will be about three of them left.

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  3. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Oddly, the date stamps on the returns themselves, and the dates provided as the date the return was filed in the spreadsheet don’t agree: e.g. National’s return is stamped 7 May 2013, but the spreadsheet says it was filed on time.

    And also note that the in National’s $30k+ return for Xiao Miao Fan, the first donation they list as part of the total is $10, which suggests their record keeping of small donations is better than they’ve claimed in the past (as a reason for not requiring certain things of political parties).

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  4. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    I expect Labour will once again demonstrate that it is the party of unmitigated hypocrisy. Can you imagine how they would be reacting if it was National that had “forgotten” to disclose a $430,000 donation from a wealthy property developer?

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  5. Harriet (4,979 comments) says:

    “….Their disclosure is 12 months late….”

    As the detectives will no doubt say:

    You don’t ‘forget’ or ‘misplace’ half a million dollars for an entire year.

    You purposely and intentionly deceive for an entire year! :cool:

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  6. kiwiincanberra (4 comments) says:

    I really do get sick over Labour jumping up and down over minor things National ‘do wrong’ but pushing their every growing pile of crap under the carpet.
    I know we come to expect double standards, but is it not time for all to be treated on a level playing field?

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  7. Grant Michael McKenna (1,160 comments) says:

    I am shocked, shocked, to hear that the Labour Party may have breached electoral law.

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  8. Jaffa (94 comments) says:

    I would hate to see this appalling bunch of MPs running the Country!

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  9. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Are the Labour Party accounts held with a NZ bank, or are they overseas like their leader’s?

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  10. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    queenstreetfarmer observes:

    Can you imagine how they [Labour] would be reacting if it was National that had “forgotten” to disclose a $430,000 donation

    Haha…. can you imagine how the media would be reacting if it was National that had “forgotten” to disclose a $430,000 donation??? It would be lead item on both TV News bulletins / headlines in the Hoorald / outrage expressed on the radio etc. The leftard media would be apoplectic. And incessant…..

    But because it’s their ‘own team’ at fault, it will barely get a mention.

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  11. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Just another example of their incompetence and hypocrisy. The state of the left at the moment is truly shameful. I just cannot for the life of me see how they get the support levels they do. If they somehow become government, it will be the worst in history and Shearer will go down as the worst PM this country has ever seen.

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  12. stigie (1,220 comments) says:

    About time they were shown up for this large amount of money.
    Will the MSM run a story about these hypicrites ? I bet not !!
    If it was National, it would be spread all over the front page.

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  13. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Per stigie – where is this in the MSM? Utter hypocrisy.

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  14. hannity (152 comments) says:

    ‘Will the MSM run a story about these hypicrites ?(sic) I bet not !!’

    Nah, they’ve been burned before trusting DPFs ‘sources’,

    Still, it gets the gullible drooling. eh stigie?

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  15. flipper (4,084 comments) says:

    But seriously, do we expect the leftards in the Electoral Commission to send the matter to the Police?

    If they do, they (Police) will no doubt recall Harry Quinn to run their case – just to be certain that they will reach similar conclusions to those postulated when they decided no to prosecute Labour’s H1 and H2 for theft of taxpayer monies to fund their pledge card scam in 2005.

    I really can see all those pigs flying in Molesworth Street this morning. :)

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  16. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Now in true NZ political style what happens next… National suddenly own up to some forgotten donation as well and both parties start playing the ‘not fair to just prosecute one of us’ card. Everyone shakes their heads and a few people get grumpy for a while… If it gets extreme then urgent retrospective validations get passed and we all move on.

    Sadly, I see no chance of our law makers ever being held account to the laws they make for themselves… They always seem to be unaccountable because their laws were confusing and they didn’t intend to break them… Some profoundly knowledgeable legal chap once told me parliament hasn’t got the ‘reasonable person’ defence that the law was confusing because – they wrote it, they passed it into legislation and they are therefore bound by both the intention and the letter of it. Not so apparently… Nobody gets prosecuted for breach of electoral law…

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  17. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    I’m surprised commentators here including DPF think that electoral law applies to Labour.

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  18. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    It is political therefore the Police will do nothing, taking time time etc. to do anything, then dropping it when it is most convenient.

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  19. backster (2,174 comments) says:

    I haven’t heard it mentioned on the ZB news yet this morning.

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  20. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Oops!

    Penalty under s.210D is a $40,000 fine for the Party Secretary who failed to file on time. Chris Flatt may be a little worried … .

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  21. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Chris Flatt may be a little worried … .

    A Labour party member worried about prosecution under electoral law – where is the precedent for this ?

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  22. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    Are we at all surprised, Stuff does not have any mention of this slip up from Labour….

    Not sure what it is about Labour forgetting what is inbank accounts and how it got there….. ;)

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  23. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Unless there is an incredibly good reason for this, I presume the Electoral Commission will ask the Police to prosecute Labour.

    Labour cannot be prosecuted.

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  24. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Labour cannot be prosecuted.

    Apparently neither can any members of parliament … we just move on… Why would the law makers be accountable under their own laws… they know the intention of the law better than the police or the courts … Move on.

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  25. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    @felixmarwick

    Labour says issue over $430k donation were due to confusion as to whether a bequest counts as a donation. (It does) Has apologised to the EC

    Labour says it’s apologised to Electoral Commission over incorrect $430K bequest declaration. Says issue has been settled

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  26. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    I cannot get excited about this. But the Labour Party is a serial offender when it comes to obeying disclosure laws. And they took a holier than thou attitude to John Banks. Labour thinks they are bullet proof and they will get a free pass from the media.

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  27. UpandComer (537 comments) says:

    It’s fine, it’s just money they forgot about, like their leaders. You just need to look at their economic policies to know they don’t really care about money. Still, this is just another thing that means they can’t criticise anyone for anything.

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  28. Flyer (22 comments) says:

    I didn’t know Social Credit still existed!

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  29. Harriet (4,979 comments) says:

    “…..Labour says issue over $430k donation were due to confusion as to whether a bequest counts as a donation. (It does) Has apologised to the EC…..”

    Can anyone else here think of what ‘bequest’ could possably mean other than ‘donation’ – within the principles of accounting?

    I freely admit – I fucken can’t! :cool:

    They’re still lying to us – as usual!

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  30. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    But other parties did it too… It’s not fair to just prosecute one party… It was an honest mistake…

    Wait the greatest news is yet to come… The statute of limitations has expired and nobody can be prosecuted – just returns re-filed … Move on.

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  31. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    It’s not a donation Harriet – it’s just a great big pile of money given to them. Can’t you see the difference? :-P

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  32. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Wait the greatest news is yet to come… The statute of limitations has expired and nobody can be prosecuted – just returns re-filed … Move on.

    Thankfully, it hasn’t. This is one change we got them to make.

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  33. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    Is it really a big issue?

    They did declare it, just late.

    Why is this a serious breach?

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  34. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Following up on the deafening silence from the media…..

    Andrea Vance (media hack who writes on Stuff) has just posted an article (11.58am) with the headline: Books Thrown Open On Party Donations…. and the focus is on Colin Craig and the fact he paid for his own campaign.

    And finally, after 7 paragraphs, Vance mentions:

    It was discovered that Labour broke the rules by not immediately declaring Dalley’s bequest, because it was more than $30,000. When the error was discovered it required extra paperwork.

    And that’s it! Nothing more. Vance has decided that it’s a case of ‘Nothing to see – move on’. Now, where have I heard that line before…?

    If ever I needed proof that the vast majority of MSM hacks are uber left wing, this is it. We really deserve better from the media, but of course, we won’t get it as long as the current crop of hacks have their fingers on the keyboard.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8657548/Books-thrown-open-on-party-donations

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  35. toms (299 comments) says:

    Just add an amendment to the current GCSB legislation to include making this failure to declare legal as well. After all, if it is good enough for the spooks, it should be good enough for our political parties.

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  36. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    Will Trevor Mallard be rushing down to the local Police Station to report a breach of the law m,ore than EIGHT TIMES the size of the one which he complained about from John Banks?

    This is a serious breach by Labour, but once again it seems that the party will escape without sanction. Perhaps it’s time for Judith Collins to re-draft the electoral legislation with a few more teeth, including giving the Electoral Commission the power to prosecute offending parties, rather than passing cases on to the Police to investigate then excuse.

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  37. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    Midday, finally the pinko Stuff.co.nz puts something up about this, albeit leading with Colin Craig…

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8657548/Books-thrown-open-on-party-donations

    Pffftttttt

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  38. SorryDavid (3 comments) says:

    “Can you imagine what would have happened if National failed to disclose a $430,000 donation from a property developer for 13 months. It would be the lead item on the TV news, with opposition parties demanding the PM front up over the issue.”

    If the property developer was as dead as Labour’s legator, it would be equally dead as news.

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  39. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    who really cares where the money come from?
    If people are stupid enough to leave money to politicians, good on them.

    If labour are funded by unions good on them, who cares.

    If a Hong Kong triad funds NZF who cares.

    As long as the bastards aren’t spending tax money ( Winnie , Helen hello ) who cares.

    Favours have been done by politicians forever for people, silly rules set up by poor parties to find out where rich parties get their dough is just more politics of envy. They’re all wankers, who cares

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  40. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler

    I’d like your opinion on this; It seems to me that with matters of electoral law the Police should waiver their right to use discretion and prosecute immediately thus passing it to the courts to decide the validity of the breach.

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  41. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    It’ll be interesting to contrast the difference in news coverage between an end of list backbench MP being a drunk twat versus a major political party once again breaking, apparently important, electoral laws.

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  42. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler

    I’d like your opinion on this; It seems to me that with matters of electoral law the Police should waiver their right to use discretion and prosecute immediately thus passing it to the courts to decide the validity of the breach.

    I would oppose that. We’re talking about a criminal prosecution. If someone is convicted, they get a criminal record. That is not always just, and police discretion is an important check. More importantly, in some of the cases police have declined to prosecute, it was not because they exercised a discretion not to prosecute, it was because they investigated and believed they couldn’t establish a case. Sometimes (e.g. pledgecard) that was incompetence, but other times, it will have been because there simply wasn’t evidence. I do not want a situation where police are legally obliged to commence bad faith prosecutions.

    For matters like we have here, however, I don’t think it should be a criminal offence. It should be an infringement offence (like speeding). There would be an automatic fine, which you could challenge in Court the same way you challenge a parking ticket (although perhaps it could be before a judge rather than JPs or a Community Magistrate).

    The fine should also be levelled against the party, not necessarily an individual. You might want to charge individuals in some circumstances, but it shouldn’t be the only option.

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  43. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Oops!

    Penalty under s.210D is a $40,000 fine for the Party Secretary who failed to file on time. Chris Flatt may be a little worried … .

    AG – not just Chris Flatt. Because none of the earlier donations had been disclosed, each time there was a new donation it triggered a new obligation to disclose. The final donation in the series was made the day after Tim Barnett became General Secretary.

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  44. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Graeme

    Cheers for that. However …

    For matters like we have here, however, I don’t think it should be a criminal offence.

    But it is currently a criminal offence ? But I guess since the likelihood of prosecution is pretty much zero … Yes an infringement might be a good idea – at least then the defense that the law was confusing and other parties were also doing it (or that this is how we have always done it) would not stop a formal slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket which is better than “move on”.

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  45. Ross12 (1,432 comments) says:

    Here is the answer.

    http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/17094600/labour-clears-up-donation-confusion/

    That is absolutely PATHETIC. Confusion over bequest and donation –what utter rubbish and they expect Jo Public to swallow that !!!!!!!!!!

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  46. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    But it is currently a criminal offence ?

    Yes. And if it’s done deliberately, or with intention to mislead people, it should still be a criminal offence, but in other cases (the more usual might be where it’s a week late), a simple ticket would suffice.

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  47. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler

    And here in lies the problem… The experts in electoral law (the people who write it & enact it) they are not bound by it when they “don’t understand it” or forget the requirements it places on them. Such a laugh eh… Self serving in the extreme and we call this democracy…

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  48. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I can’t understand why the green MP’s have to make all these donations to themselves, surely there is an organic lima bean rancher or a feral seaweed wrangler out there with a stash they want to unload on the party. There must be, because they have all these really neat ideas about how to bugger up the country – why can’t they get their message out there?

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  49. Nookin (3,360 comments) says:

    PEB

    The ranchers and wranglers are probably putting all their money into MRP. So, probably, are the Kiwisaver funds for the Green MPs as well as the Greens own Super fund

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  50. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    This will not be on the 6pm news I guarantee.

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  51. RF (1,407 comments) says:

    Ross12. 2.25pm Watch out Uncle Tim Barnett will have your arse if you do not believe him. A fate worse than death.

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  52. Graeme2 (102 comments) says:

    I wonder what would happen if I forgot to declare my income for 12 months.

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  53. Duxton (654 comments) says:

    “For matters like we have here, however, I don’t think it should be a criminal offence.”

    I disagree. This strikes at the very heart of our democracy.

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  54. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Graeme2

    I wonder what would happen if I forgot to declare my income for 12 months.

    You simply can’t compare your or my accountability under the laws passed by parliament for you and I with the laws passed by parliament for itself.

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  55. OneTrack (3,116 comments) says:

    “I am shocked, shocked, to hear that the Labour Party may have breached electoral law.”

    I am sure it is written in the law that anything is ok when the left does it.

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  56. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Duxton

    It does strike to the very heart of our democracy. The leaders are unaccountable under the laws they make for themselves. Remember crusty old Mallard having voted for the EFA being pinged in March of the year it came into force for driving a little red Vote Labour van without an authorisation statement. Not prosecuted… Apparently the law was confusing…

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  57. Johnboy (16,653 comments) says:

    A dead gawk named “Gouk” left $25,000 to the ghosts of Vern Cracknell and Bruce Beetham! :)

    I’ll be fucked! :)

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  58. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    left $25,000 to the ghosts of Vern Cracknell and Bruce Beetham

    aint life grand, poor bugger must have made a will 35 years ago and put it in the safe.

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  59. Johnboy (16,653 comments) says:

    Should have spent it instead PEB.

    $25,000 would have bought him a new crimplene suit every year and a new Skoda every five ! :)

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  60. redqueen (567 comments) says:

    To be fair, David, they’ve only had around a day to deal with this (if the return was received on the 9th by the Electoral Commission – per their website) and they may require a number of internal discussions prior to referring the matter to Police. I agree this is completely outrageous and intend to complain to them and my local MP if they do not take action, not sure if there is any other real recourse against the Electoral Commission for failing to take appropriate actions, but I don’t think we should condemn them just yet. Will be interesting to see what happens this upcoming week and if they actually take this matter seriously. If not, I’ll be very happy to subcribe to any process than brings this to the appropriate ‘not exceeding’ $40,000 fine for the party secretary.

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  61. Harriet (4,979 comments) says:

    Secretarys of political parties should by law be chartered accountants.

    Time and time again in all political partys we see this bullshit happening.

    End it now with a public referendum! :cool:

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