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National breaks law on donations

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 pm, January 31st, 2012 - 51 comments
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Donations over $30,000 from the same source must be declared to the Electoral Commission within 10 working days. National overstepped the mark in declaring a total donation of $86,005 from Gallagher Industries outside the limit. I can sympathise as I missed a connection once when I was Labour’s Secretary. These days  the Electoral Commission doesn’t get involved – the penalty is a fine of up to $40,000 on summary conviction.

Other large donations to National since April 2011 include $56,600 from Oravida Limited, $50,000 from Citi Financial Group, $53,333.30 from Chris Parkin, Wellington property owner and former City Councillor, $60,000 from Antoine’s restaurant, and $35,000 from Team McMillan BMW. ACT received $110,000 from Allan Gibbs, $50,000 from Christopher and Banks Private Equity Ltd, $52,335 from John Boscawen, and $100,520 from Louis Crimp. Labour and National both received $50,000 from the Todd Corporation, and Labour $40,000 from the EPMU.

It will be interesting to see the return of donations in April, particularly now that they have to be reported in bands. Again I think the big money will favour National over Labour, especially with asset sales on the block.

51 comments on “National breaks law on donations”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    They would have missed the 10 working day time frame by about 2 or 3 days (due to xmas public holidays). Hardly something to get riled up over.

    Why even bother having a time limit set in law if you can simply report it so late so as to avoid prosecution, as you did when you were Labour’s secretary?

    • burt 1.1

      It’s different when Labour do it….

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Sure is. The NZ Herald would be screaming about attacks on democracy etc in that case. When National do it, its all love and kittens.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      They would have missed the 10 working day time frame by about 2 or 3 days (due to xmas public holidays). Hardly something to get riled up over.

      The law doesn’t allow that flexibility. Of course the enforcement of the law and the sentencing judge might.

      Our system of justice has checks and balances after all.

      • burt 1.2.1

        It’s almost cute that you imply a case of misspending public money for an election would ever make it to a court.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.2

        Actually if you follow the judgement against Mike Smith, you will see this:
        “There was not a reasonable excuse for the late filing.”

        Seems like a “reasonable excuse” will be accepted as a reason for late filing.

        I would suggest that “Christmas holidays and key staff being away” is a reasonable excuse, especially when you miss the deadline by only 2 working days.

        It’s also possible, depending on how the National party is set up and which personnel do what etc, that the December 23rd aftershock in Chch could have disrupted their operations.

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.2.1

          I think you’ve shown yourself why a time limit in law can serve a useful function then.

          • burt 1.2.2.1.1

            And Labour (and Winston) showed us how the short statute of limitations on electoral spending can serve a useful function.

          • Lanthanide 1.2.2.1.2

            Um, what?

            “You must report everything within 10 days otherwise we’ll fine you, unless you report it after 6 months because then we can’t do anything”.

            Yeah, that’s a real incentive to get it within those 10 days, isn’t it? If you don’t make it, just wait for 6 months and then report it anyway.

            My point is that if you miss the 10 day window, without a reasonable excuse (which takes into account the length of the delay), you should be fined. None of this “you reported it so late we couldn’t fine you any more”.

            Labour should have had to face the music in 2008-09 for being so late without a reasonable excuse.

            • Colonial Viper 1.2.2.1.2.1

              You know what Lanth, the problem you are identifying is not with the law it is with the fraking prosecutors and the judges.

              • Lanthanide

                The determination from the Labour party issue clearly states:
                “However as the time limit for any prosecution has expired,”

                I don’t think that has anything to do with the “prosecutors and the judges”.

              • burt

                Lanthanide

                Please… CV lives in a beautiful world where Labour never did anything wrong… why oh why do you insist on using facts to shatter his myopic illusion.

  2. Anita 2

    Those donations to ACT from John Boscawen were from when he thought he had a chance, right? 🙂

  3. McFlock 3

    What’s with the donations received after they won?
    Sounds like fairweather friends to me 🙂

  4. Nick K 4

    The law of common sense will apply.

  5. Jum 5

    ‘Again I think the big money will favour National over Labour, especially with asset sales on the block.’

    And if this is what New Zealanders are in favour of I can only think this is no longer the New Zealand I can feel proud of.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Donations from businesses and organisations should be disallowed – they aren’t people.

  7. felix 7

    Couple of odd figures in there.

    Looks like Chris P and Boscawen just emptied all the spare change out of their pockets.

  8. vto 8

    What on earth is Gallagher Industries doing making donations? Last time I looked Gallagher Industries didn’t have the right to vote.

    Are they trying to buy influence over the National Party or something?

  9. IrishBill 9

    I see the Waitemata trust hasn’t donated for years. In fact National have very few donations on the scale of the ones they received in opposition. And the big(ish) donations they are receiving are not coming from their traditional establishment funders. I suspect this means one or more of the following:

    They’ve got a very big war chest from the millions of donations they received previously and are no longer acceptant big donations from traditional funders.

    Or they’ve used those donations to create sustainable investment revenue streams (I understand the party has several registered companies) and are no longer accepting big donations from traditional funders.

    Or they’ve found a way other than secret trusts to bring in the big money (like breaking up donations from their more traditional sources into smaller bundles).

    Or they’re just not spending much outside of their taxpayer funded stuff. And to be fair their last election campaign looked remarkably cheap.

    • Enough is Enough 9.1

      My guess is they spent as little as possible in 2011 and didn’t call of their big donors for cash.

      There was no real prospect of them loosing so they have saved their cash for the rainy days ahead. Not the next election but late 2012 and 2013 when they unleash their worst policies on us. At that same time there will be an almighty PR campaign telling us how fantastic it is for the poor that we are selling our infrastructure to the Chinese.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.2

      Im guessing Waitemata Trust donates directly to individual National candidates to cover billboards pamphlets etc.

      That way smallish amounts dont come above the radar.
      Also explains why some candidates can full time campaign against a sitting labour MP but not have a job to pay their bills. Sam Lotu-Iiga, Nikki Kaye come to mind for the election before last.

    • A whole bunch of people are making donations at just below disclosure level would be my guess.

  10. randal 10

    ipredict that they will never be prosecuted.

  11. ghostwhowalksnz 11

    Oravida used to use the name Kiwi Dairy Corporation and is run by Jing HUANG along with allsorts of circular holding companies

  12. ghostwhowalksnz 12

    Christopher and Banks Private Equity is part owned by …….. John Banks. As well as his dodgy mate Huljich.

    Christopher is Huljichs first name … doesnt want anybody to see the connection without digging

    • felix 12.1

      So John Banks, ACT MP, donated to National?

      Gee it’s almost as if ACT isn’t a real political party at all…

      • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1.1

        Check back its ACT.

        Funny how C&B Private Equity was only formed 2 Aug 2011 and 28 days later writes a big cheque.

        Nice way to class it as a ‘business expense’

        • McFlock 12.1.1.1

          nice way to make it more difficult to identify actual donors.

        • felix 12.1.1.2

          Ah so, my bad.

          “Business expense” is right though, the National and ACT parties are really little more than a business expense these days

  13. randal 13

    felix.. its really a binky party!
    like hinky but binky.
    act now for your free binkys.

  14. There’s a counter claim that National didn’t break the law here after all.

    working day means any day of the week other than—

    (a) Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Labour Day, the Sovereign’s birthday, and Waitangi Day; and

    (b) a day in the period commencing with 25 December in any year and ending with 15 January in the following year

  15. Adolf Fiinkensein 16

    FIUA A?

  16. Its amazing how much Nationa gets away with .Has everyone forgot that they have still not paid back the GST they did not pay a couple of elections back

  17. james 111 18

    I believe National made the deadline by one day to spare. As the act states working days not Calender days. Mike may want to check that out could be another post about nothing

    • Ross 18.1

      I don’t think so, James.

      It appears to have been declared on the 4th working day, well inside the 10 working day limit.

  18. james111 19

    Yup National made it by one day as its working days not Calender days so no story here at all. I would have thought Mike Smith should know what the Act says in his Position, and am surprised that he has fired off blanks.

  19. Jimmie 20

    SMOG, SMOG, SMOG – gotta cry to see you guys do this day after day. No wonder posts on the standard tend to feed the believers and have little impact on the political landscape.

    C’mon Mike you could have looked up the law first before inserting foot into mouth – shades of the H-fee initiative huh?

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