web analytics

Nats laundering donations (as ever)

Written By: - Date published: 10:09 am, February 28th, 2015 - 28 comments
Categories: accountability, national - Tags: , ,

Who owns your local Nat MP? You’re supposed to be able to find out who donated to them, but in most cases you can’t:

Loophole: National Party donors stay secret

An analysis of electoral finance declarations shows more than 80 per cent of donations to National Party candidates were channelled through party headquarters in a loophole described as akin to legal “laundering”.

National’s heavy reliance on funding candidates with donations from the party – shown in a Herald study to account for more than $1m out of $1.2m raised by their candidates for the 2014 general election – was a “striking use of electoral law that appears to be laundering the money”, said Otago University political science lecturer Bryce Edwards.

“It’s not illegal and it’s up to different interpretations whether it’s ethical or not, but there should now be heat on politicans to explain what’s going on and to tighten up this loophole,” he said.

Labour Party general secretary Tim Barnett said Labour operated a system which decentralised fundraising to a local level and this structure, allied with the stricter disclosure levels for candidate donations, was inherently more transparent.

Donation laundering is an old habit for National. From 2006:

The National Party has admitted that its use of secret trusts violates the intent of electoral law and must now reveal the big money backers behind the Waitemata Trust, Labour Strategist Pete Hodgson said today.

Over 92 per cent of National’s 2005 election spend-up was financed through blind trusts. Around two-thirds of National’s funding – or $1.2 million – was laundered through the National Party operated Waitemata Trust under the name of Robert Browne.

“Gerry Brownlee admitted this morning that this violates the intent of the law, but unfortunately current legislation is powerless to stop it. We have always relied on the good will of parties to not abuse the system, but it appears that we can’t afford to do that any longer.

See also.

While National (with the aid of the Herald) ran a successful dirty politics hit on Labour over a non-existant donations scandal in the run-up to the last election, it is National that runs these large scale laundering operations. Makes you wonder what they’re hiding.

Time to get all private money out of politics and state fund political parties.

28 comments on “Nats laundering donations (as ever)”

  1. dv 1

    ALL donations over $100 to be published on a public web database within a month.
    NO trust donations allowed.

  2. ianmac 2

    And I thought that that National Party Slush Trust Fund had been banned. Tricky stuff.

  3. tc 3

    Remember the EFA was evil and democracy was under attack till nact got in tweaked it to suit themselves so this practice would not get caught by the act.

    The herald is nothing more than an extension of the nact pr spin cycle, there is nothing here that surprises me at all even Browncoals ‘good will of the parties’ line which hed need to rehearse so as not to piss himself laughing at the delivery of it.

    Talk about rubbing nz’s noses in the deceptive behaviour they have elevated to a well honed delivery mechanism.

  4. ianmac 4

    See also :”You can’t have it both ways
    by Andrew Geddis
    The National Party’s treatment of Donghua Liu’s donation is strikingly at odds with with how it treated all the other donations it received. That’s not only wrong, but it may even be illegal….”
    Andrew explains the dubious legality of this and suggests, ” I wonder if the Electoral Commission might not like to send a “please explain” letter to clarify exactly what went on … and consider whether perhaps someone has done this or this.” (Laws arround donations.)

  5. Then to soften the blow for the National party, the Herald publishes a story about why businesses donate to political parties, (with a focus on Talleys), and puts a picture of Damien O’Connor to accompany the article……despite the majority of Talley donation going to National. I am really sickened that so much media is political propaganda.
    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11409395

  6. Kriss X 6

    80% of National Party donations are were channelled through party headquarters in a loophole.

    However, to give balance, we need to know how this compares with other parties.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1.1

        The reality is most MPs self fund their campaigns-
        I think the Greens have a very Mormon tithing arrangement thats compulsory but labours might be more informal.

        Nationals trick hides this , as being a very capitalist party, its a do it your self .

        It baffles me and others that Dongha Liu would give so much money to a minor electorate MP who has no significance, and is not his electorate MP ( he lives in Epsom)

        My guess is that he gave the money for Maurice Williamson, who was an important minister ( for Building) and was the go to guy for Liu.

        I think Williamson refused to play ball and wouldnt be the fall guy so a round about way was to use Ross, who surprise surprise is now a junior whip.

        • KJT 6.1.1.1

          It is not the political funding that is at the root of the problem.

          It is the money and positions given to politicians by grateful corporate beneficiaries of their policies, after Parliament.

  7. Peter Pan 7

    “Time to get all private money out of politics and state fund political parties.”

    While I completely agree that there should be 100% transparency within politics whether local, national or even a leadership campaign I could never agree with that the state should fund political parties.

    If a party’s idea’s/policies/performance isn’t enough to inspire its “believers” to fund it then those who don’t believe it shouldn’t have to be taxed to support it. Imagine the most objectionable political party that you can and now imagine being taxed to support it.

  8. saarbo 8

    As the influence of large corporations increases, the need for state funding of political campaigns becomes more important. It also come as no surprise of the Labour MP’s that were funded by the likes of the Vela’s and Bob Jones.

  9. Michael 9

    Interesting to see that Michael Woodhouse received 3 donations, of $5,000 each from his Party’s slush funds. I wonder whether those donations stipulated payment to Woodhouse after laundering took place? I wonder, too whether Crest Cleaning Services or interests associated with the McLauchlan family donated to the Nats?

  10. Paul Campbell 10

    Aren’t many of these ‘donations’ from ‘Cabinet Clubs’? money paid by the rich for preferential access to our cabinet ministers, and as we’ve discovered, people like mr Liu to Key himself.

  11. HumPrac 11

    Quote by Gerry Brownlee – “We have always relied on the good will of parties to not abuse the system”
    That is either naive or just an excuse.
    It could translate as “Parties have always abused the system”.

  12. RedBaronCV 12

    I too read the story about the companies making donations – ( 5).

    Now how many of these donations are being deducted from income before tax is paid (so that us taxpayers are stumping up) and does the IRD intend to investigate.

    Could any of these donations be construed as bribes and should some other action be taken in those cases.

  13. irascible 13

    NATIONAL PARTY DIRTY TRICKERY LETS DOWN BOTANY VOTERS

    The Botany electorate has been let down by the National Party ever since the electorate was formed.

    Botany voters are fed up with MPs who repeatedly show both poor political judgement and questionable ethical behaviour.

    The short lived career of Pansy Wong ,who was forced to resign over allegations of the misuse of taxpayer-funded travel while furthering her family’s business interests in China, and the current MP, Jami-Lee Ross, who has featured prominently in Hager’s book : Dirty Politics and is deeply embroiled in the ongoing Cabinet Club- Cash for Access scandals swirling around the discredited Chinese businessman, Donghua Liu does not present a positive image for the National Party in Botany.

    Jami-Lee Ross’ unashamed willingness to act as the Botany Bagman for Donghua Liu and the conduit for John Key to solicit largesse for his local election campaign and the National Party coffers amply demonstrate to the Botany electors that he lacks sound political judgement and ethical behaviour. In other political environments soliciting cash for access to the Prime Minister from individuals like Donghua Liu would result in immediate calls for disciplinary action by Parliament and the member’s party organisation. It would even result in a resignation.

    In keeping with the calls by The NZ Herald opinionista, John Armstrong, and those made by John Key during the election campaign, for David Cunliffe to resign over an eleven year old letter of enquiry into Mr Liu’s application for residency we believe that as Mr Ross’ involvement with Donghua Liu’s of greater significance involving both providing access for John Key to Donghua Liu and an active solicitation of money that he should follow the example of his predecessor, Pansy Wong, and offer his resignation both as a National Party whip and as an MP.

    Links provided to:
    TV3 Brook Sabin report: 23.February .2015
    NZ Herald: News item: 14 December 2010
    NZ Herald: John Armstrong column. 14 June 2014.
    MickySavage. The Standard. 22.February. 2015

    • Sacha 13.1

      “Botany voters are fed up with MPs who repeatedly show both poor political judgement and questionable ethical behaviour”

      If that was true they would have voted differently, for many elections. Whatever they are looking for, it sure isn’t honesty, integrity, etc..

  14. mary-a 14

    ALL donations to ALL political parties must by law be transparent, open to scrutiny and published, including donors’ details.

    At the moment, too much dirty money is being laundered, allowed through ‘legal’ loopholes.

  15. English Breakfast 15

    Can you name the precise law, and relevant section, that National have broken here? It seems to me they’ve just found a smart way to apply donations. There’ no Electoral Finance Act scandal here as far as I can see.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • A new opportunity for Ngāpuhi collective and regional negotiations
    The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The Crown is also ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Referendums Framework Bill passes third reading
    A Bill enabling referendums to be held with the 2020 General Election has passed its third reading. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Act is important for upholding the integrity of New Zealand’s electoral process. “The Government has committed to holding a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis at the next ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Referendums website and initial cannabis Bill launched
    The first release of public information on the two referendums to be held at next year’s General Election was made today with an informative new Government website going live. Additionally, the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has been released, showing the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to ban foreign donations
    The Government is taking action to protect New Zealand from foreign interference in our elections by banning foreign donations to political parties and candidates, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Legislation will be introduced to Parliament this afternoon and passed under urgency. “There’s no need for anyone other than New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Governments and tech converge to strengthen joint response to online terror events
    Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. The workshop aims to refine and strengthen the response in the event of a terrorist attack with online implications. Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cancer Control Agency to drive improved care
    The new independent Cancer Control Agency has formally opened today, delivering on the Government’s plan to improve cancer care in New Zealand.         Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark marked the occasion by announcing the membership of the Advisory Council that will be supporting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting small business to prosper
    Small businesses who deal with government departments are set to be paid faster and have improved cash flow as a result, under a new strategy released today. The Government is backing recommendations from the Small Business Council (SBC) and has agreed to implement three initiatives immediately to support business and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bill has biggest education changes in decades
    The Education and Training Bill 2019, introduced in Parliament today, proposes the biggest education changes in decades and is an important step towards improving success for all our learners, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “The Bill’s rewrite of education legislation is long overdue. Indeed one Education Act, parts of which ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bali Democracy Forum to focus on democracy and inclusivity
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Bali to represent New Zealand at the 12th Bali Democracy Forum that will be held on the 5-6 December. “The Forum is a valuable opportunity for Asia-Pacific countries to share experiences and best practice in building home-grown democracy and fostering ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Innovative technology and tools to better manage freedom camping
    A package of new and expanded technology and other tools will encourage responsible camping and help communities and local councils better manage freedom camping this summer, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. “Our Government has been investing to improve the freedom camping experience for everyone because we want to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Improving wellbeing by understanding our genes
    The government is laying the groundwork to understanding our genes – work that can help us tackle some of our biggest health challenges, like heart disease and diabetes, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. $4.7 million has been invested in the Genomics Aotearoa Rakeiora programme. The programme will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government investing to future proof school property
    Nearly every state schools will receive a capital injection next year valued at $693 per student to bring forward urgent school property improvements, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.  The one-off cash injection is the first project to be announced from the Government’s infrastructure package ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Infrastructure investments to be brought forward
    The Government has decided to bring forward major investments in New Zealand’s infrastructure to future proof the economy. “Cabinet has agreed to a significant boost to infrastructure investment. I have directed the Treasury to help bring together a package of projects that can be brought into the Government’s short and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Future-proofing New Zealand
    It is a great pleasure to be with you today in Whanganui. Like the Prime Minister I grew up with the TV clip of Selwyn Toogood booming “What do you say Whanganui, the money or the bag?” to an unsuspecting ‘It’s in the Bag’ audience. For those under the age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa track opened – an asset for the West Coast
    New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track, was officially opened in Blackball today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage alongside the family members of the Pike 29 and Ngāti Waewae.  Local mayors and MP for the West Coast Hon Damien O’Connor were also in attendance. “Paparoa National Park ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • P-8A Poseidon base works commence
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark turned the first sod of earth on the infrastructure works for the new P-8A Poseidon fleet at RNZAF Base Ohakea today. “The Coalition Government’s investment in Ohakea will ensure the Royal New Zealand Air Force can manage, maintain and task the new fleet efficiently ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Launch of the National Emergency Management Agency
    Civil Defence Minister Hon Peeni Henare today announced the establishment of the new National Emergency Management Agency from 1 December 2019.  The National Emergency Management Agency will replace the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. It will be an autonomous departmental agency, hosted by the Department of the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NASA 2020 Internship applications open
    New Zealand tertiary students with top grades and a passion for space will once again be offered the opportunity to work with the world’s best and brightest at NASA, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Recipients of the New Zealand Space Scholarship are nominated by the Ministry of Business, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand to send more medical staff and essential supplies to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further support to Samoa in the wake of an ongoing measles outbreak in the country. Additional medical supplies and personnel, including a third rotation of New Zealand’s emergency medical assistance team (NZMAT), further nurse vaccinators, intensive care (ICU) specialists and Samoan-speaking medical professionals, will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago