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Hypocrite

Written By: - Date published: 12:23 pm, November 20th, 2019 - 74 comments
Categories: election 2020, election funding, elections, electoral commission, electoral systems, jacinda ardern, national, nz first, politicans, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags:

LPrent has posted this morning on the latest involving the New Zealand First electoral donations problem.  I set out my initial view yesterday that the arrangement appeared to be cute but legal.

There was a further disclosure this morning, that the foundation paid for the campaign headquarters and staff overtime.  From Matt Shand at Stuff:

Expenses records for the foundation seen by Stuff show [the NZ First Foundation] collected more than $500,000 in donations from April 2017 to March 2019 that could be in breach of electoral donation laws, particularly if the foundation was paying party expenses. 

Many of these apparent donations to the foundation do not appear on the party’s electoral returns. 

Invoices, seen by Stuff, reveal the foundation spent $325,000 in about 18 months to March 2019 – with most of the money appearing to directly benefit the NZ First Party.

About $28,000 was spent with Prime Property to rent campaign headquarters. Emails arranging to obtain swipe cards to the headquarters show the staffer collecting them identified himself as working directly for NZ First leader Winston Peters. 

The same staff member bought $1736 worth of office furniture and later added a $169 document shredder and a $99 coat rack.

Another $10,000 was spent on staff overtime and $920 on a picture of lost sheep.

It does not appear this spending was declared to the Electoral Commission by the party.

If the headquarter expenditure was made from the loan made to the party that year then this is ok as the expenses do not appear to be election expenses. But if it is not then it is a donation and should have been declared. And if the money came from multiple sources then if they were over the threshold the contributors should have been disclosed.

There was also talk about a dispute concerning an internet bill.

Reporters should ask about the dates. If the bill was paid outside the statutory period then unless Court leave was sought it may have constituted an illegal practice.

But this story has wings. And Winston’s traditional means of dealing with this sort of problem is not going to make it go away. Clearly there is a lot of information being leaked and releasing it bit by bit will make this story continue for a while.

How is National handling this?

The only word that springs to mind is hypocrites.

From Jason Walls at the Herald:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is under pressure to order an investigation into allegations swirling around donations to New Zealand First, as the saga risks hurting her coalition Government.

Allegations of electoral donation wrongdoing levelled against the coalition partner also appears to have put a dampener on the National Party’s chances of working with NZ First after next year’s election.

NZ First leader Winston Peters is remaining defiant after reports that the NZ First Foundation – a secretive body which collects party donations – appeared to have hidden political donations worth almost half a million dollars.

National Party leader Simon Bridges says if the allegations are true, they would be the “most significant allegations of this kind we have seen in New Zealand’s history”.

There is this other matter being investigated that involves money for list seat positions being partitioned into non discloseable chunks that I thought was just as significant.

And this is a matter for the authorities to investigate. There should be no political directions given. To even suggest this is totally bizarre.

To cap things off Bridges suggested that the episode would make it harder for National to work with NZ First in the future. Clearly they are still prepared to work with a party Bridges thinks has committed the most significant breach of the electoral law in the country’s history.

What weak standards he has. Although if he did rule out working with New Zealand First he would also have to rule out working with the National Party given its recent behaviour.

If you want to witness a beating then listen to this interview of Bridges by Kim Hill. I love the way she slows down her questions at the precise moment she delivers the coup de grace.

It is funny that the leader of the party being investigated by the SFO for rorting the election system should be demanding that the leader of the party who is not accused of anything should take action against the leader of a third party that appears to have been really cute with the law but has not necessarily done anything illegal.

What is that word starting with “H” again?

74 comments on “Hypocrite ”

  1. weka 1

    Funny as farce, but also sad that this is the state we are in politically as a country.

    Has Peters fronted up yet? I thought he was meant to clear everything up by end of yesterday.

    Whatever formal processes need to happen separate to the Labour Party, is there not also and issue here of the leader of a party being accused of some serious electoral breaches being the Deputy PM?

    I don't think we're at resignation yet, but I am not clear how this works politically if Ardern maintains neutrality and then has to ask for his resignation later and where the coalition agreement may present a clear conflict of interest. Even more so if the legalities end up being grey but there are still serious ethical issues.

  2. Incognito 2

    Minor typo:

    Although if he did working out working with New Zealand First he would also …

    [Oops, typed on a train … now fixed – MS]

  3. michelle 3

    Its not Jacinda job to do this let hope she leaves this to who is responsible.

  4. Sabine 4

    Maybe we need public financing and no polticial donations what so ever?

    Too far left for anyone to propose?

    • lprent 4.1

      It has been my position for a while.

      Mainly because whatever changes go in, they always seem to leave some interesting loopholes for donations.

      • mickysavage 4.1.1

        Mine too. Why should we rely on private largesse. The current system guarantees that wealthy voices are the loudest.

        • Sabine 4.1.1.1

          Well, you have all the connections in the world. Tell labour to get something done that will benefit everyone for once. If they have the guts to deny all that 'free cash'.

          and yes, i bought a bottle of whisky from J.A. at an auction before the election and she even signed it. Not that that has any value.

          • Paaparakauta 4.1.1.1.1

            The PM is a whisky drinker ? I hope she can make better decisions than a Tamaki boy called Rob Muldoon !

    • Ken 4.2

      It makes sense.

  5. tc 5

    Maybe we should place the 'H' on soimons forehead rather than Dave's now.

    Dave's made a genuine contribution with the euthanasia issue whereas soimon's been a shit stirring knuckle dragging luddite in playing to his 'audience'.

  6. Gosman 6

    This:

    National Party leader Simon Bridges says if the allegations are true, they would be the “most significant allegations of this kind we have seen in New Zealand’s history”.

    If the allegations are true then they are no longer allegations.

    Idiot

    • Sacha 6.1

      Using the word 'history' was also unwise. #doh

    • tc 6.2

      The way he mangles terms and the language that he should have down pat after years of actually practicing law is a skill he's really worked on.

      • Sacha 6.2.1

        Imagine how bad he must have been as a lawyer.

      • ianmac 6.2.2

        He never actually practiced courtroom law according to Winston and Simon has never refuted that. Simon said yesterday that he does not have practicing law certificate which was his excuse for dodging the detail of his allegations with Kim Hill.

    • You_Fool 6.3

      Actually you are right… makes sense… the allegations about Bridges are true, so not allegations… The allegations against NZF are the most signifigant allegations!

    • NZJester 6.4

      These allegations pale in significance to shifty donation allegations that have been levied against the National Party and some of its MPs including Simon in the past so hardly as he claims the most significant in NZ History.

      But then an allegation is just an allegation, not a fact.

  7. Sacha 7

    I/S notes an opportunity for Bridges to back up his public statements of distaste: http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2019/11/bridges-should-put-his-money-where-his.html

    … sounds like he supports change. Which is great, because there's an Electoral Amendment Bill before the Justice Committee right now which could be amended.

    If Bridges wants greater transparency and more enforcement powers for the Electoral Commission, he should put his money where his mouth is and publicly suggest appropriate amendments.

    The government will be basicly backed into a corner on this and be forced to either support them, or taint themselves with the public by backing the obviously broken status quo. But of course Bridges won't, because the last thing any establishment party wants to do is let the public know who is bribing them…

  8. Stuart Munro. 8

    I think he's better described as "optimistic" in this context.

    Labour is much too mature to fall for a series of allegations the status of which is as yet undetermined. They are obliged to wait and see, neither acceding to Hooten's frothing enthusiasm for a snap election, nor endorsing NZF until the facts are in.

    In this interlude, while the worst of the feral 'gotcha' media pack are occupied elsewhere, Labour can enjoy the pleasant, not to say auspicious spring weather, and ignore the interminable bleating of the member for Tauranga, and by doing so show solidarity with the great mass of New Zealanders who also ignore him.

    • Alan 8.1

      about 46% of the voting population actually does take notice of what he says

      • Stuart Munro. 8.1.1

        On a daily basis? I doubt it.

      • AB 8.1.2

        No – up to 46% of the population (probably less) will vote for him through gritted teeth no matter what the clown does or says, because they perceive it to be in their economic/class interests to do so. The majority of them are probably wrong in that perception but that's an aside.

    • tc 8.2

      Hooten's a paid frother for his supper. National paymasters good, Greens bad, Labour very bad, NZF see Hollowmen party central for todays position.

  9. Karol121 9

    Simon Bridges now appears to have caught the; "Legend in his own mind" disease.

    What a let down. He once, sort of, appeared to be balanced and realistic.

    BTW: On the New Zealand First fiasco. For what it's worth, and could somebody assist me with this by way of URL link to clarify just what the New Zealand First Foundation is, (as an entity), for myself and others?

    It is a difficult horse to put form to and handicap: Where it is stabled, bloodline, trainer, who owns the beast, etc?

    Regarding party sole, (not funders), an Anne Martin, (either Tracy Martin's mother who indicated via media in 2015 that she would be "outski" from any integral role with the party, or perhaps Tracy Martin herself with a correspondence address of Brown Rd, Warkworth), was clearly formally engaging with the accountants working for the party (Lennie & Associates, of Symonds St, Auckland), and declarations pertaining to New Zealand First Incorporated as late as April 2018. From then, I guess, Mrs Elizabeth Witehera (of Hikurangi) took over as Secretary General for the party.

    That's the party itself, but The New Zealand First Foundation being a separate entity, of course; just a bit of a dark horse until recently, and still.

  10. greywarshark 10

    I put this up in Open Mike yesterday. But it is sikmon's domain the splashing round in put-downs and tghe building up of disturbed trivial judgments.

    From OM 19/11.

    noticed the immediate use of slush fund as the story broke by a journalist who wouldn't know at this stage whether using an emotive term like that was justified.

    Matt Shand on Stuff at 10am 19 Nov 2019: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117510705/why-the-nz-first-slush-fund-could-breach-electoral-law-expert

    Matt Shand at 5am 19 Nov 2019: NZ First Foundation dodging electoral rules? Records suggest breaches.
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117509589/nz-first-foundation-dodging-electoral-rules-records-suggest-breaches
    Almost half a million dollars in political donations appear to have been hidden inside a secret slush fund controlled by a coterie of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' trusted advisers.

    Unattributed NZ Herald 19 Nov 2019 at 7.40 am: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has refused to be drawn on claims that an electoral slush fund run on behalf of NZ First may have breached the Electoral Act.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12286329 – 'Looks to be in contravention of the Electoral Act': Law professor weighs in on NZ First donations

    NZ Herald seems to have slush-fund at the top of its favourite terms for journalists, this being from 2018 by Claire Trevett:
    PM Jacinda Ardern and Shane Jones launch $3 billion fund …https://www.nzherald.co.nz › nz › news › article
    Feb 23, 2018 – It has already been described as a "slush fund" for NZ First and scrutiny of it will be intense. There was also be a close watch for any signs of …

    August 2019 from the National Party newsletter on Economic matters from the mouth of Simon Bridges National Party leader:

    Meanwhile it’s wasted billions on a slush fund for Shane Jones and on Fees Free which has resulted in fewer university students.
    https://www.national.org.nz/tags/author_simonbridges?page=4
    Further on:
    Page 5: “The reality is this Government has wasted billions of dollars on Shane Jones’ slush fund and Fees Free tertiary and so isn’t prioritising lifesaving cancer drugs

    Page 6: “The Associate Transport Minister needs to be honest about how much money her plan will actually take from Kiwis’ back pockets, and what she’ll do with her tax bounty if it isn’t paid out in subsidies. Another slush fund to keep NZ First happy perhaps?

    Page 8: “Taxpayers are forking out $2.8 billion for fees-free tertiary which has resulted in fewer students, $3 billion for Shane Jones’ slush fund and $2 billion on KiwiBuild which has resulted in next to no houses.

    Page 11 (Jan 2019): It’s wasting $2.8 billion on fees-free tertiary education for students already going to university, another $3 billion on a slush fund that NZ First is shamelessly using to buy votes, and almost $300 million on working groups because Labour didn't do the work in opposition.

    Note: 'Slush fund' also used on Page 12 and 14 so is a comfortable fall-back term for National. (I couldn't be bothered going back beyond a year ago.)
    .

    National's Paul Goldsmith refers to 'slush fund' in this report from Scoop in 2018. Shane Jones needs to explain what conflicts were declared before the Government gave $6 million to a trust led by a former NZ First MP, and why his slush fund is leading to private gain, National’s Regional Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1807/S00120/integrity-of-govt-slush-fund-in-serious-question.htm

    And the Otago Daily Times August 2018 chose that term for it's headline. https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/rnz/its-slush-fund-govt-support-race-tracks-slammed
    Paul Goldsmith (National MP) in 2018. 'Mr Goldsmith described the provincial growth fund criteria as being "as loose and as billowing as the deep blue sea''.
    "Well what we've seen is that it's an all-purpose political slush fund and you can fit anything into it,'' he said.'

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Thanks Karol. And yes the biggest slush fund is National's …

      • Sabine 10.1.1

        So the coalition is going to advocate for State funding of political parties only?

        Yes?

        Because it really does not matter that one may have a bigger slush fund then another, it matters that both are in the wrong. Or are we so down low now that we discuss the legality of issues based on size?

  11. Jackel 11

    Hypocrite and ironic. The so called party of big business should know that if the money is flowing in thick and fast and the tills are ringing hot then you must be doing something right. Maybe they're jealous because their tills are quiet and Bridges is emptying their coffers and fast bankrupting their party with his lame attempts at headline grabbing etc. Tories go figure.

  12. mosa 12

    Meanwhile while we wait for the outcome from the electoral commision the bad publicity does its work.

    Bridges has got a cheek demanding an independent inquiry when
    1 They are facing an ongoing investigation with the SFO

    2 They never undertook inquiries or investigations when they blatantly broke the law in some very dubious cases before and after 2008 !!!

  13. Sanctuary 13

    It will be interesting to see if the MSM and the print media- in this case, Stuff – has the power it had just a decade ago to bring down a party. I suspect it will not.

    The atomisation of readership, the loss of authority brought about by the relentless trivialisation of news and the rise of social media all make me think this Stuff story will ultimately huff, puff – and blow itself out in a miasma of indifference before Xmas.

    This is probably not, on the balance, a good thing.

  14. aj 14

    RNZ: Bolger supports state funding of political parties. Good on him.

    • greywarshark 14.1

      +1000 aj

      • aj 14.1.1

        And it's worth noting that Jim Bolger shares this concept of party funding with Bernie Sanders.

    • Lettuce 14.2

      This is the perfect opportunity for the government to bring in state funding of political parties. They can also ban foreign donations and donations associated with foreign entities while they're at it (just like Australia and the US have done).

      National's howls of outrage at losing one of their primary funding streams would be delightful – hoist by their own petard.

  15. michelle 15

    As for the act see more party going to the police. Our police numbers are low they are struggling to do there job

  16. greywarshark 16

    Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams were interviewed this morning by Kathryn Ryan. Matthew talking with gravitas about NZFirst and how our PM should be thoroughly investigating particularly as the Dominion Post had featured the loans/Trust matter on the front page and Fairfax papers, being serious papers, not like Whaleoil. He referred to our constitution as if there was one, then referred to the constitutional regs of the Cabinet manual. He is not biased, and donates to all three parties, so that proves it. The academic chosen to comment also is Andrew Geddis, a Professor of Public Law at the University of Otago, specialising in electoral law.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018723366/fresh-new-zealand-first-foundation-revelations

    A news items coincidentally today, is about the bright eyed little predators of our NZ environment. Its headline and the view of the little alert stoat brought Matthew Hooton amongst others, to mind!

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/403775/new-traps-and-lures-a-pivotal-step-towards-predator-free-future

    An earlier item was about human relationship changes. I think it stands as an analogy for the changes we need to bring about in the way we run our society, before we find that we don't have any meaningful input as citizens. https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018723102/navigating-relationship-joys-and-challenges

  17. Dean Reynolds 17

    Just listened to Kim Hill's interview with Bridges. I cannot believe that a jibbering, brainless fool like Bridges is the best leader that the National Party can produce. If Bridges is their best, then the rest of the Nat caucus is clearly full of joe averages, wannabes & brain dead light weights

    • Wensleydale 17.1

      He isn't. He's a place-holder. The human shield. He's the guy they've propped up in front to take all the hits while they rearrange the seating in the back. He's an expendable resource that's just about tapped out.

  18. Peter 18

    Nick Smith kindly invited focus on National's hypocrisy re funding. He probably won't get home tonight, shake his head and ask how the hell it happened that the Labour MPs had an orchestrated response which got him big time.

    He'll be pleased Simon wasn't there to be tarred though.

  19. ianmac 19

    Yes Nick Smith must be pissed off! A barrage of questions re the National Electoral spending tricks of the Electoral Act was the response to Nick Smith trying to trap the Minister of Justice. Brownlee tried to block the Government response. Brilliant.

    And the multi-million dollar warning that should Smith or Bridges repeat outside what they said in House, they will be sued for defamation.

    Question 9 https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=210160

  20. mosa 20

    What about the Waitemata Trust and its HUGE slush fund too influence National party policy.

    Lets have some transparency in this argument.

  21. mosa 21

    Winston and Jones just as bad as the others who profit from political influence.

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2019/11/if-shane-jones-isnt-corrupt-he-is.html

    • greywarshark 21.1

      Edit
      Is the above correct, from Mosa's link? Is a NZ First-connected company profiting from political influence? Or is it just a case of a NZ company applying to do forestry business in NZ with seed funds from the government! Are they not as entitled to carry out business and apply for funding as are other companies some of whom are not even NZers? I think this is a case of super-suspicion from Labour oriented people who forget that businesses are how organised things are done, and capital is required to carry out large schemes, either private or organised by government. I feel that the criticism of NZ First and muddying Shane Jones' name over it is a beat-up and not a good look from lefties with airy-fairy ideas.

      This is a small country, and people who want to get any project or business done have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. They need to be active in the enterprise business and doing the mahi that makes something, do something that earns their salaries and provides employment to local people and provides upskilling. And that must be what happens if this company gets funding. Those prepared to work should get it, and those not fit, should get some practice work so they can get regular employment. Then they won't get used as examples by the wise, informed people I meet so often who know for a fact that NZs don't, won't take up jobs.

      While searching Google for some unbiased comment on the NZ First- connected forestry firm's application for funding, which I didn't find, I came across this full report on the proposed new rail link to Marsden Point, Northland. It is called the North Auckland rail line or NAL. So we can get some facts about something from this interchange!

      PDF] Upgraded North Auckland Rail line – Ministry of Transport

      https://www.transport.govt.nz › Our-Work › Documents › Northland-Rail-BC

      May 9, 2019 – Project reference: NAL Business Case ….. Benefits of the preferred way forward (Rail Connected Port) . …… Figure 47. Northland and north Auckland commercial forestry plantations . …… Shane Jones, and is funded by the Provincial Growth Fund. …… The first cruise ship to berth at Northport in Whāngārei is.

  22. Paaparakauta 22

    How many houses does Bridges currently own through corporate vehicles ? It escapes me at the moment ..

    [You have two moderator notes to which you have not responded. Therefore, I put you in Auto-Moderation and if that doesn’t help, you will be Blacklisted and lose your privilege of commenting here altogether – Incognito]

    • Incognito 22.1

      See my Moderation note @ 11:49 PM.

    • Paaparakauta 22.2

      This is the first I have heard of it. Also I can find no time stamps..

      [I assume this is your response to the Moderation notes. You have been requested several times by Moderators to please explain why you are using so many aliases and e-mail addresses all coming from the same IP address. Here are some examples:

      Open mike 20/11/2019

      Open mike 20/11/2019

      Daily review 18/11/2019

      Daily review 18/11/2019

      Incognito]

      • Incognito 22.2.1

        See my Moderation note @ 10:30 AM.

      • Paaparakauta 22.2.2

        Short memory while working on other projects. Does it matter ? You doubtless have my IP.

        [Yes, it matters to moderators because it is hard enough to keep track of sockpoppets with dubious intentions and behaviour and you are adding to their workload. It also matters to the community of and on this site in terms of transparency, i.e. they know whose comments they are reading and (whom) they are responding to. Your comments are ok and not an (the) issue but unless you want to be treated as a sockpoppet and receive a permanent ban, I would suggest that you stick to one alias and one e-mail address. Your ‘short memory’ explanation is not a satisfactory response nor does it justify your bad habit on this site. However, it is your choice if you like to keep commenting here – Incognito]

        • Incognito 22.2.2.1

          See my Moderation note @ 11:58 AM.

        • Paaparakauta 22.2.2.2

          I've been on this site since it began .. and I'm also genuinely busy on another project on another screen .. so I tend to dive in and out as I multi-task and sometimes need a break.

          [I’ve delved into your history on this site a bit further and I found that you’ve caught Lynn’s attention many times for the same offence, i.e. astroturfing. Over the years, you have been using tens if not hundreds of different handles and e-mail addresses, which you still use in the present and recent time. From now on, you can stick to one alias/handle and one e-mail address, the current ones used for this comment, and you can dive in and out as much as you like and whenever you need a break. The first time you I’ll find you break this rule you’ll receive a permanent ban without warning for your deceptive behaviour – Incognito]

  23. Paaparakauta 23

    Where am I supposed to find these 'moderation notes' ?

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