There’s a pledge from New Zealand First ahead of its annual conference that it will follow the rules on disclosing political donations.
The party was forced to correct its donation returns before the last election, revealing gifts which should have been declared.
Returns filed to the Electoral Commission show New Zealand First has lodged nil donations over the past two years.
Party Leader Winston Peters says next year’s contributions will be reported appropriately.
“We will be abiding by the law, as we have always done,” says Mr Peters.
As we have always done? What a blatant lie.
NZ First were never charged or prosecuted – that is correct. But that is because there was a six month (off memory) time limit for charges.
They did not abide by the law. Here is what the Electoral Commission said:
Although the 2007 return was materially false, no offence committed under section 214G(3) or 214G(4) of the Electoral Act 1993 as the Party Secretary had no intention to mis-state or conceal the facts
So the return was false, but no prosecution because only the party secretary can be held liable.
In respect of the 2005 and 2006 returns, the statutory time limit for any prosecution has expired.
And these were not trivial donations unreported. From 2005 to 2007, NZ First declared there had been zero donations over $10,000 when in fact there had been around $235,000 of donations.
And no that doesn’t include the $100,000 Owen Glenn gave to pay Winston’s legal bills. Likewise it does not include the revelation by the SFO that the Velas had also paid Winston’s electoral petition expenses to Bob Clarkson.
Yet Winston still insists they have always abided by the law.