The Telegraph reports:
The Bad Boys of Brexit are back! Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore have been hired by New Zealand’s version of the UK Independence Party to help fight September’s general election in a move bound to infuriate their Left-wing critics.
A team from Mr Banks’ Leave.EU campaign is advising Winston Peters’ New Zealand First party on its social media campaign in a deal said to be worth a six figure sum.
Now there is nothing wrong with hiring political advisors from overseas. National and Labour at various times have had people from Australia or the US helping them.
But the mention of a six figure sum (that means between $100,000 and $1,000,000) is fascinating. Who is paying that bill? Does NZ First have that sort of money just to spend on foreign consultants?
If someone else is paying, then that should be declared as a donation to NZ First. And it would be illegal for that someone else to be a non-resident.
A six-strong team from Leave.EU have been dispatched to Auckland with an instruction to increase New Zealand First’s vote share to as high as 12 percent.
It would be remarkable to increase a vote share from 2% to 12%.
What is more interesting is that a six strong team has been dispatched. How are they being allowed in the country? Is the Immigration Minister declaring them to be essential workers?
And a team of six would cost a lot. The average London salary for data analysts is 35,000 pounds or NZ$66,000. Take six of them and that is $400,000. Assume three months salary and that is $100,000. Add in airfares, accommodation etc and you are heading over $150,000. Also presumably these are people who are really good and on more than the average salary.
So again the question is who is paying for them, and how are they being allowed in?
Mr Banks continued: “We have deployed our top social media team and data experts to do all the creative work, Andy and I are giving Winston strategic advice.”
He added: “Since 2016 we have known Winston, he is a huge supporter of the Commonwealth and watched first hand the referendum campaign.
Is it possible they are funding this themselves, because they like Winston? If so, then they have a real problem as that is a donation in kind and donations of more than $50 from non residents are banned.
So the Electoral Commission should be very interested in this.
Mr Wigmore added: “I’m going to be on ground in New Zealand causing trouble – mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare in the New Zealand election – the bad boys are back.”
Unless Mr Wigmore is already in NZ (as Mr Banks is) then he may find his description of his proposed activities here won’t help him gain essential worker status!