Police referral the right thing

Stuff reports:

The Electoral Commission has referred New Plymouth MP David MacLeod to the police over his failure to report $178,394 of candidate donations.

The National MP’s original candidate return for the 2023 General Election was filed on February 13, 2024.

The total donations disclosed were $29,268 from seven separate donors.

On May 20, the Commission received an amended return, with the total donations disclosed in the amended return coming to $207,662 from 24 separate donors.

MacLeod said the error came about because he didn’t know he was meant to have filed his 2022 donations, thinking the returns only needed to include 2023 donations.

The MP said he had “never, ever” tried to hide donations and was “extremely disappointed” in himself for making the error.

It is no surprise this has been referred to the Police. In fact I would have been stunned if they had not.

I also expect that the Police will lay charges, as the return was clearly significantly incorrect.

However, unless there is evidence to contradict the statement that it was a genuine interpretation error, I would not expect the charges to be a corrupt practice (which requires intent), but merely an illegal practice.

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