The Spencer Trust in turn had, it seems, eight $10,000 cheques from eight different Vela companies.
Now the irony is that if the eight Vela companies had donated directly to NZ First, then (as they had done in the past) they may legally not have to be disclosed.
But by having the donations go through the Spencer Trust, the donation from the Spencer Trust does have to be disclosed, in my opinion. I don’t think you can look at who donated to the Spencer Trust.
Even if they had donated directly, there may still be issues. Generally a seperate company is a seperate donor as they have their own legal personality. However if each company has identical shareholders and directors, then a Judge could possibly find an issue with that – especially if they were sole shareholder and director companies.
What is interesting is that the NZ First Auditor had access to the books of the Spencer Trust. This indicates how close the two entities were. Also of interest is the fact they paid almost $90,000 of invoices on behalf of NZ First in 2006. The Party President says he had never heard of the Spencer Trust. So who handed over the invoices for payment?
My guess is the Leader. The same Leader who was making speeches railing against secret trusts.