Goff’s $150,000 foreign donation

The Herald reported:

A book, two bottles of wine and a $5 note were the star lots at a Chinese dinner that raised $250,000 for Labour MP Phil Goff’s mayoral campaign on Saturday night.

About 350 people attended the fundraising dinner at the Imperial Palace restaurant in Ellerslie where bidding on a book, The Governance of China, written and signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, started at $5000 and sold to a phone bidder from China for $150,000.

There are no issues around having successful fundraisers and auctions.

But I am surprised that there has been no comment on the $150,000 donation from a Chinese resident (not a Chinese New Zealander).

Such a donation is not illegal under the Local Electoral Act but if Goff was standing for Parliament, it would be illegal. The maximum donation from a non-resident or citizen is $1,500 for parliamentary elections.

If Goff was a centre-right candidate who received a $150,000 donation from a Chinese resident, I suspect the left would condemn it as corruption and call for it to be refunded. They’d claim Goff was the tool of Chinese house buyers.

But as usual a double standard applies. Goff’s $150,000 donation from a foreigner doesn’t even get a comment.

UPDATED: Radio NZ reports that Phil Goff has said the donor is a NZ resident. It is a pity we can’t verify this until after the election. The Local Electoral Act should be changed to align with the main Electoral Act and require any large donations to have the donor’s identity disclosed immediately (within 10 days).

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