New Zealand First Incorporated

Keeping Stock quotes from a Listener investigation into the incorporated society called “New Zealand First Incorporated”:

But it’s the second arm that is now proving curious. This is the incorprated society New Zealand First Incorporated, set up in August 1993. The unusual aspect of this body is that current party president George Groombridge, immediate past treasurer Brent Catchpole (a former MP and an accountant by profession) and now estranged party founder Brooke McKenzie all believe that this is the party itself.

All three told the Listener thaqt this is the structure through which New Zealand First exists. McKenzie’s signature is first on the founding document.

“It was to be the vehicle for the party; otherwise there wasn’t any point in registering it” he said. “We considered it the best vehicle ond the one least likely for member abuse. It offered transparency if used correctly. Its record was available for public scrutiny and could not be abused by individuals in collusion. So we deemed it the best vehicle.

Okay, but …

NZ First Incorporated has diligently filed returns to the Companies Office for the 15 years since 1993. Each year the returns report the same signed statement: that for the financial year “there was no income and no expenditure”. For the entirety of NZ First Incorprated’s existence, the returns say, there has never been a single cent paid into it – nor a cent paid out.

Now WInston refused to talk to the Listener for their article, but since it was published, he has said the incorporated society exists just to protect the name. This is plausible but somewhat strange as teh name is protected as a registered political party, and one can also invest in some intellectural property protection for it, without needing to register an incorporated society.

NZ First is not alone in having an incorporated society alongside the unincorporated party. The most common reason you do this is for ownership of property etc, as this can be difficult and risky for an unincorporated society to do.

For example, the Party has had registered since 1955 the New Zealand National Party Centre Incorporated. This is on the public register of societies, and you can even view the latest audited accounts (they only relate to property). They do not file nil returns, like NZ First.

So is NZ First Inc only for protecting the name, or does it act as another vehicle for funds? If NZ First owns any property, in whose name is it?

has an interesting similiar issue also. They have a society called Labour Party Properties Inc. It’s latest annual accounts are a nil return for income and assets. However the notes to their accounts say they own 12 properties on behalf of the Labour Party.

I am surprised they can have the properties owned by the incorporated society, yet have them not appear in the accounts of the society. This is presumably done to hide the value of the assets from the public, despite the fact the law requires accounts of incorporated societies to be public. Their accounts are not audited – I wonder if an auditor would agree with not showing the value of the properties in the accounts?

UPDATE: Whale Oil has some scans from the Listener article.

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