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Not a good look

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, November 19th, 2019 - 98 comments
Categories: election funding, elections, electoral commission, nz first, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags:

Questions have been raised about New Zealand First’s party financing arrangements after it was disclosed that the party was receiving loans from a party aligned foundation.  From Guyon Espiner at Radio New Zealand:

A mysterious foundation that loans money to New Zealand First is under scrutiny, with a university law professor saying although it’s lawful, it fails to provide the transparency voters need in a democracy.

Records show New Zealand First has disclosed three loans from the New Zealand First Foundation. In 2017, it received $73,000. Then in 2018, it received a separate loan of $76,622, in what the Electoral Commission says was a loan executed to “replace the first loan”. In 2019, it received another loan for $44,923.

Those giving money to the foundation are able to remain anonymous because under electoral law, loans are not subject to the same disclosure requirements as donations.

Both of the foundation’s trustees refused to answer any questions about what the foundation did and how it operated, and New Zealand First’s party secretary, Liz Witehira, said she knew nothing about it.

“I don’t know and I don’t need to know,” Mrs Witehira told RNZ.

“I understand there was a loan prior to my time but I didn’t have anything to do with it. I have not been involved in any loans since I have become the secretary general.”

Under electoral law, only the party secretary can enter into a loan on behalf of a political party.

Electoral Commission records show Mrs Witehira signed an Electoral Commission document – Return of Party Loan Exceeding $30,000 – on 26 April.

That document says New Zealand First received a loan of $44,923 from the New Zealand First Foundation on 24 April 2019.

RNZ asked Mrs Witehira for an explanation and she responded by text: “I haven’t signed any loans. Get your facts right.”

After being provided a copy of the Return of Party Loan document with her signature on it, she said, “There’s nothing further to explain. One entity provided a loan to another entity. It was documented, declared and repaid.”

The report notes that the foundation is the only entity that has provided funds to the party in the past couple of years.

Then this morning further details were released by Matt Shand at Stuff:

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.

The secretive New Zealand First Foundation collected donations from wealthy donors and used the money to finance election campaigns, pay for an MP’s legal advice, advertising, fund a $5000 day at the Wellington races and even pay an IRD bill.

A New Zealand First spokesperson said on Monday the foundation had been in existence across several election cycles. “There has never been any suggestion that it is anything other than lawful,” she said.

Records uncovered in a Stuff investigation show a complex web that appears to be designed to hide donations to the NZ First Party via The New Zealand First Foundation.

Graeme Edgeler was quoted as saying the following:

“If the foundation and party are separate, it is likely a corrupt or illegal practice occurred because donations from the foundation were not declared,” he said.

“If the foundation is part of NZ First, then the party secretary has likely committed offences around declaring donations or failing to keep records.

“If some donors were under the impression they were donating to the NZ First political party when making payments to the foundation, then there are possible breaches of the Electoral Act relating to party donations and ensuring proper records.”

More information would be helpful. But I wonder if the situation is as clear cut as Edgeler thinks.

The Electoral Act provisions relating to loans are separate to those relating to donations.  And unlike contributions requirements for donations there is no requirement for contributions to a loan to be separately identified. 

Are the payments party donations? Maybe not. A party donation is defined as “a donation (whether of money or of the equivalent of money or of goods or services or of a combination of those things) that is made to a party, or to any person or body of persons on behalf of the party who are involved in the administration of the affairs of the party“. I am not aware that the trustees of the Foundation, former NZ First MP Doug Woolerton and well known lawyer Brian Henry are current office holders. If not payments to them are not party donations.

As far as I can ascertain the foundation has not advertised in which case it does not have to be registered as a promoter.

Obviously there is further information floating around but from what I have seen so far I would suggest that the arrangement is cute rather than illegal.

But it is not a good look. Full disclosure is and should be the norm.

While we are on the subject there was that recent example where a $100,000 donation was partitioned into seven donations of $14,000 with a $2,000 donation on top to complete the sense of feng shui clearly to avoid disclosure requirements. Cases like this should be investigated fully and promptly and if something illegal has happened then prosecutions should be taken.

Winston spent most of 2008 defending himself against claims relating to the donation by Owen Glenn to New Zealand First.  I get the feeling it could again be a long 12 months for him.

98 comments on “Not a good look ”

  1. Michelle Gray 1

    I think Winstone is too smart to be doing illegal things and I think someone is trying to dirty his name again before the next election. National are trying everything possible to get rid of him and his party they do it every three years.

    We need to look at what they (national ) did who got all the money and all the waste flags, saudi deal, no deal , techno deal with American company , nova pay shambles, oh and we must not forget the P debacle that made people homeless and some national party mates rich from a made up hysterical claim to clean so called p houses without the proper scientific evidence. Gee they got away with a lot of dishonesty and they lined the pockets of their mates and their own business interest. And we must not forget judeaths quick visit going out of her way to visit oravida on tax payers time and while representing our country the list goes on and its disturbing.

    • Grantoc 1.1

      Michelle

      A nice attempt at muddying the waters and diverting attention away from Peters.

      As Micky said, at best "it is not a good look". On the basis of the available information; NZ First is going to some effort to hide donations etc in an attempt to avoid having to declare them. Peters and his cronies are doing this all by themselves.

      Furthermore a related issue involving the creation of a forestry company; placing senior NZ First officials etc into governance positions and then applying for a 'loan' from the Regional Development Fund' suggests to me that Winston and his mates are not that smart at all. Good on Labour for chucking this application out.

      [I changed your user handle but please shout if not ok]

      • lprent 1.1.1

        I suspect that this was legal under current law. And for much the same reasons as Michelle, I suspect that the timing wasn't an accident. It looks to me like this is information being fed to media at about the same part of the election cycle as the Owen Glenn allegations in 2008.

        Bearing in mind that we have had the National party revealed as doing something even more dodgy (and probably illegal) last year with an allegation from their ex-party whip saying that the National party leader was involved in advising the break up of a $100k donation into $14k chunks to avoid declarations. I think that we should start resolving that first – for a starter it would clearly unlawful rather than "not a good look" under the current act.

        But more generally I think that the practice of giving any donation to a political party must be transparently declared – with a mandatory prison term for those giving the donation and not making sure it was properly declared.

        I’m getting rather tired of these hypocritical National party games.

        • Anne 1.1.1.1

          I'm getting rather tired of these hypocritical National party games.

          Hypocrisy is the word for them!

          A repeat of part of my comment @ 1.2.2. on Open Mike today:

          Now where have I heard that story before? Ah yes. Forty years ago, the National Party used to stash huge amounts of cash in secret slush funds. They had names but the only one I remember was the Waitemata Trust fund. They were so secret not even the IRD knew about them. Naturally they denied their existence for years but one day (iirc) those slush funds disappeared….

          And lets not forget they reappeared in a slightly different format under the last National Govt. The media do seem to suffer regularly from collective amnesia.

          • KJT 1.1.1.1.1

            Labor tried to get big money out of politics in Clarks time. Remember the screams of "democracy under attack" from National, when the ability of the rich to buy the Government they wanted, was threatened.

        • Enough is Enough 1.1.1.2

          Agreed.

          Would love for National and NZ First to be fully investigated here .

          There would be no better outcome then both of these morally corrupt parties to be punished heavily.

          I think they have both technically complied with the law, but have clearly used loopholes to defeat the purpose of the Act which is transparency.

        • Gosman 1.1.1.3

          When is the investigation on that going to finish and weren't you going to do something around taking a private prosecution over something National did?

          • KJT 1.1.1.3.1

            Aren't you concerned about NZF's and National's total lack of a moral compass?

            Solves the mystery of why NZF has been blocking progress. To dependent on sneaky millionaires, and interest groups, funding.

            • Incognito 1.1.1.3.1.1

              A moral compass is like a sextant to somebody who doesn’t know what it’s for or how to use it: pretty useless.

  2. observer 2

    The sooner this lot are out of Parliament, the better.

    Nobody on the left should be defending their behaviour (and I haven't seen many who are). "Enemy of my enemy" doesn't cut it.

  3. Buster12 3

    Don't often agree with anything I/S says but he has hit the nail on the head this time

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2019/11/a-corrupt-practice.html?m=1

    [Corrected e-mail address – please be more careful next time]

  4. Dukeofurl 4

    National Mps electorate donation returns , which must disclose names over $1500, instead are whitewashed through the NZ National Party( only a few donations arent) which has a $15,000 limit before names made public

    No surprise that for Nationals MPs, that they exploit the difference $1500-$15,000, which would be a sweet spot of electorate donors

  5. What about the Waitemata Trust administered by Russell McVeagh which funds the National Party. Not a lot of transparency there.

  6. weka 6

    A New Zealand First spokesperson said on Monday the foundation had been in existence across several election cycles. “There has never been any suggestion that it is anything other than lawful,” she said.

    Hang on, isn't that the Winebox defence?

  7. weka 7

    the thing that pisses me off about this is the arrogant refusal to front up and be transparent. From what I can tell it was the same attitude with the forestry deals. It's like senior NZF people have sense of entitlement to work the system to the max and then when called out, they're like fuck off, none of your business. Which is fine so long as it's legal, but just stop pretending that your politics are somehow on the moral high ground and admit you're in the same self-serving, manipulative camp as National.

    • Sacha 7.1

      Shane Jones fits that culture so well.

    • tc 7.2

      Totally Weka. The arrogance is not surprising from a party with Shane Jones in it.

      Nothing to fear, nothing to hide etc so put up or continue to face the mud slinging you've left yourself open to here.

    • Dukeofurl 7.3

      The Henry family was the 'founder' of NZ Forest Products out of the consolidation of timber milling sector, while that business was split up after asset raiders took control . Once they had the big plants at Penrose, Kinlieth and Whakatane and the forests that went with it.

      The Henrys were in the same league as the Fletchers, Watties , Todds etc in their day as 'industrialists'

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_family

      Following the hostile takeover of NZFP, the family have largely retreated from the public business community and have maintained an even lower public profile. Much of their activities are now believed to be based in Australia, headquartered in Brisbane, but they still retain business interests in New Zealand and remain large land owners.

      Land owners huh ? Converting to forestry …no surprise their either.

      ….also now established a capital management business, Goldman Henry Capital [1], which raises funds from the New Zealand investing public under prospectus to invest in various international investment vehicles.

      That the family uses members (Brian Henry)and others who are in the legal profession is also no surprise. Heard of Hesketh Henry ?
      Its one of the ways wealth is now held and built up over generations by family investment companies.
      Yes , the Rich get Richer

  8. Incognito 8

    Well, one outcome of DP was that all parties were tainted with the same brush (smeared with the same shit), in the eye of the general public, rightly or wrongly. It drags down (NZ) politics to the lowest denominator, which serves some more than others, and it switches (turns) people off from the political and democratic process. In other words, if this is not a good look for NZF, it is also not a good look for NZ politics in general – no winners with this (except MSM).

    • tc 8.1

      that was a deliberate outcome of DP; they're all the same etc. Shonky knew exactly what they were doing and played his part to perfection.

      That's why it persists to this day as it's still effective with our owned msm.

      • Incognito 8.1.1

        Exactly!

        Edit: and we play into their hands by playing along.

        • tc 8.1.1.1

          Solid and proven tactic given our voluntary voting, low turn out and swinging voters easily influenced by those 'thought leaders/movers and shakers/paradigm shifters' etc

          We have a media who do as directed by the DP architects and no counter media presence in the shape of public broadcasting. Like the ozzie ad says….100% easy.

    • Bg 8.2

      Jacinda needs to grow a pair. She seems to be defending either Winston or Shane every day. She is fast becoming an apologest for their behaviour and if this continues she's throwing away her chance of a 2nd term.

      Clarke wouldn't put up with half the shit that NZF is currently doing.

      Just a reminder that Winston has never survived a full term while making up the govt.

  9. Not a good look alright, and not just for NZ First. As Danyl points out at The Spinoff, this is a problem for the governing parties as a whole, because NZ First's corruption will taint its coalition partners the same as it did in 2008 – and for the same reason.

    • lprent 9.1

      And National as well. This will reload the questions about the reports and complaint that Jamie-Lee Ross made last year about undeclared large donations being broken up.

        • alwyn 9.1.1.1

          That is hardly "later information". It is dated 11 April so it is only a matter of weeks after Ross's earlier fairy stories.

          This was the stuff he claimed he could prove and then he turned up with diddly-squat wasn't it. Not a damn thing in the way of evidence for his fantasies.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1.1.1.1

            As a bystander I enjoyed this particular JLR 'fantasy' immensely – wonder if all the protagonists were similarly 'tickled'?

            "It dawned on me, 'I know this script, I helped write this script.' At that point, I felt bad for what I did to Todd. But that's the modus operandi of the National Party – when people become a liability you push them out the door."
            https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/weekend-herald/20181020/281479277390765

            Good to see Simon hanging in the there – for now laugh

          • lprent 9.1.1.1.2

            This was the stuff he claimed he could prove and then he turned up with diddly-squat wasn't it. Not a damn thing in the way of evidence for his fantasies.

            Perhaps you should provide a link for this 'diddly-squat'. As far as I can see it is still a current investigation. Otherwise your cretinous leader by example would have been screaming his vindication from a treacherous attack a balcony – right?

            Personally I say a pox on all corrupt bribe takers – I’d start with the National Party – because they are the biggest and most prolific bribe takers in politics I know of.

            • Sacha 9.1.1.1.2.1

              Not heard anything since, but RNZ brought the irony at the time: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/384516/sfo-to-investigate-jami-lee-ross-complaint-on-national-party-donations

              New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said today Mr Bridges needed to stop ducking his responsibilities as leader.

              "The person gave the money, it was divided up at the behest of who – well Mr Bridges should know that – so that's where the allegations will end up."

              Mr Peters said he was not surprised the SFO was investigating National, claiming they had been doing this sort of thing for years.

              "What proof do I have? I was in the National Party at a higher level than all of them. And I knew what they were doing back then and I complained about it. Nothing's changed."

            • Sam C 9.1.1.1.2.2

              What about National… what about “cretinous leader”… what about… what about… oh look, a squirrel!

              Listen to yourselves. Pathetic.

              • Incognito

                I asked my squirrel if it agreed with you and it hopped in a tree. Such wise creatures, squirrels, they’ve got a lot to offer to us. Unlike dogs, they always bark up the wrong tree.

                • Sam C

                  I never thought I’d see so many woeful apologist arguments for Winnie and Shane on The Standard, but it has been a funny old year.

                  • Incognito

                    Yes, I know you lost count at one. Which one was it? So many to choose from, but obviously you know how to deal with personal choices and do handle the responsibility so well. Woof, woof!

    • weka 9.2

      ok, that's pretty damning it. Can't say I'm bothered if Peters ends his career in disrepute, or if this crashes NZF. Do feel for the NZF voters who may be about to find out they've been betrayed, again, by the party.

      I like the idea of L/G going all out on their own (and Labour ruling out NZF, although I doubt they will), but not great for NZ or the left to be in this position.

      • weka 9.2.1

        otoh, Labour calling a snap election and ruling out NZF and then fucking up the election campaign would be truly dire.

        • Sacha 9.2.1.1

          Can you imagine oily Bridges ruling out Winston?

        • Psycho Milt 9.2.1.2

          otoh, Labour calling a snap election and ruling out NZF and then fucking up the election campaign would be truly dire.

          Yeah, I'm nowhere near as gung-ho about that as Danyl is – yours is an all-too-plausible scenario.

          • alwyn 9.2.1.2.1

            It might be Labour's only chance of getting another term. That will probably be the same view that Chris Trotter is displaying in his latest opus.

            http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2019/11/democracy-bit-bonkers-thoughts-inspired.html

            He is suggesting that the current Government and its supporters are ignoring the general public and that may not turn out kindly for them.

            Another year of the shambles that is the current Government and they will be the first one-term Government in 45 years.

            So sad, too bad, never mind.

            • Louis 9.2.1.2.1.1

              Opinionated assumptions are not fact and what you wish for may not come true either.

              • alwyn

                You can say the same thing about almost every comment on this blog.

                After all, if people didn't have any opinions there wouldn't really be anything to say here would there?

                Have you never posted a comment that was your own opinion on something?

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                As Alwyn points out, almost all his comments here are opinions only laugh

                • McFlock

                  It's the majesty of the opinions I find so impressive. A bit of wishful thinking from others about a snap election isn't merely left at that by Alwyn. In their deft hands, the possibility becomes "It might be Labour's only chance of getting another term".

            • Pat 9.2.1.2.1.2

              If Bridges wernt so dim you may have a point

              • alwyn

                What on earth does it have to do with Bridges?

                In New Zealand politics Governments lose power. Oppositions don't win.

                The current Government has no runs at all on the Board. They are totally useless and are being held up only by the aura of their leader. The problem is that this is fading. It was very well done in March but that is now a long time ago and people who hope for a better life are seeing that it is certainly not going to be an outcome of this rabble.

                That, plus being held in the corrupt clutches of Peters will doom them to a spectacular loss next year if they keep going as they are for another 12 months.

  10. Karol121 10

    Perhaps the document released by/accessed through the electoral commission is a fraudulent document, but who knows?

    Would the notable Mrs Witehira have been so brazen and confident as to have lied about loan documents in any forum that she considered to be valid and respected, who knows?

    Perhaps it's just mind over matter. The party doesn't mind, and RNZ interviewers or reporters don't really matter.

    Perhaps it could simply be her interpretation of what "haven't" is, or isn't, but who knows.

    Perhaps, for her, "haven't" might actually have meant "have", in political new speak terms, but who knows?

    Perhaps she doesn't consider Guyon Espiner worthy of being provided with accurate recount/recollection or the like, but who knows?

    I personally believe that he is entitled to a straight forward response in relation to such matters, but many probably would not support this notion.

    So, for her, such a statement of denial may not have been so much an untruth, as a joke. But again, who knows?

    In fact, who really knows much or anything about this dark horse party, it's real backers, it's real medium to long term objectives and it's less visible human (or humint perhaps) resources?

    However, in relation to low interest loan matters to any political party, in this era of very low interest rates, accusations of a special consideration/benefit resulting from any loan to a political party at almost zero percent (if this is the position) cannot reasonably be considered any sort of "gift".

    The party probably sees (nor saw) any reason to look any low interest "gift horse" opportunity in the mouth, especially when it may not reasonably be considered as being a donation in it's own right.

    Regarding the tax bill. I am certain that many people would consider any NZ political party ending up with a tax bill as being a little peculiar.

    But was it paid to IRD on behalf of another tax payer, in lieu of the ultimate beneficiary of such a tax payment providing services of some sort for the party, to benefit it in some way in relation to administration or campaigning?

    In relation to the reported $5000 a day racecourse event. This may have been a training day events for candidates, party elite and hangers on.

    Perhaps primarily so that tips might be gained on how not to flog a dead horse, how not to fence hug, how to determine the maximum number of allowable whips in one (campaign) race and how not to break a filly's leg by jockeying a race blind folded, the way in which other parties seemed to in past races.

    On cabinet positions, this party really has backed a winner this time round. And they are probably rolling in the grass having the time of their life, with all those fringe benefits attached to such positioning.

    MMP. You asked for it New Zealand.

    • Marcus Morris 10.1

      You are implying MMP is the culprit. How so. Are you suggesting that pre 1986 all parties and their funding practices were squeaky clean? I very much doubt it. In fact I would have thought that it was much easier to hide funds in those days. We were far less cynical and much more politically naive then.

      • Karol121 10.1.1

        Not the culprit. But well worth considering as a contributing factor to some of the revised cronyism we are faced with, and often increasingly farcical stunts.

        Pre-1986, squeaky clean? Not on your Nelly.

        These days, it's less about hiding funds as simply presenting; "in your face", insulting narrative as if to advertise that most in relation to political representation is enterprise and position first, (not NZ First, nor much of anything else first in real terms).

    • Drowsy M. Kram 10.2

      The majority of NZers who voted did indeed 'ask' for MMP – does ‘fairness‘ still matter?

      We do not think MMP is a perfect system – nor will it solve all the problems facing this country, not by a long shot. But it is fairer than the present system.
      – The New Zealand Listener (1993)
      https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/currently-history/events-that-shaped-new-zealand

      • Karol121 10.2.1

        Fairer yes, in relative terms, based on what dog was on offer at that time. But not the be all to end all.

        Perhaps we have become more cynical and aware, in a very healthy way, but how complacent are we now in relation to new dog tricks that take advantage of that which New Zealand sought and believed would be fairer, all those years ago?

        • Drowsy M. Kram 10.2.1.1

          Presumably fairer than FPP in absolute terms too? But you’re right, 26 years seems like (a third of) a lifetime ago.

    • Dukeofurl 10.3

      Wasnt the 'tax bill' paid by the NZF Foundation. The NZF Foundation ( its a Trust so could have various purposes) isnt a political party . Most likely it owns assets of some sort , some buildings maybe and pays tax on rent recieved etc.

      All the NZ main parties have a sort of Foundation/Trust in the background often to hold assets.

      remember the Onehunga Labour Party House ? The branch secretary 'walked off' with it when he defected to ACT and he had control of the 'Hugh Watt Society'

      Mike Williams took action in 2001 and by 2004 it was back with the Labour Party

      National from memory has a string of them for their regions, one in Auckland used to act as Poker machine Trust for pokies in John Banks owned pubs. Yes Party political purposes was once an approved way of giving money.

      • Karol121 10.3.1

        Agreed dukeofurl.

        Trust deed document is helpful, but there are many things that can be misinterpreted with regard to same, and many loopholes.

  11. weka 11

    Is there any good reason that the books of all political parties shouldn't be open? All income declared, back to source?

    • Sacha 11.1

      Nope. Love to see them argue that one.

      • weka 11.1.1

        What would be the downside for Labour? Accusations of unions controlling the country? (I don't know where Labour gets its money from).

        Less donations because donors don't want to be public? Might play against Labour more than National.

        • Dukeofurl 11.1.1.1

          These unions donating to labour ?

          Et Tu Union

          Dairy Workers union

          Rail & Maritime union

          Election year it was $260,500 from unions out of $ 1,611,073.77 or 16% Some control? No loans though.

          In that 2017 year the Greens had total loans to the party of $90,000 as well as donations of $848,000
          Philip Mills and a Betty Harris($440K plus) are big donors to Greens, I dont think he or she controls the party either .

          • weka 11.1.1.1.1

            I was referring to perception and how the MSM would frame it.

          • alwyn 11.1.1.1.2

            I don't think that Ms Harris would really be in control of the party.

            She died in January 2018 and the money was left to the Party in her will. It was mildly funny as at the time it was declared as the Green Party were campaigning to limit donations to, I think, $35,000.

            And no, I don't think it was donated in order to get any personal preference. I'm not sure I could say the same thing about the racing people who support New Zealand First.

            • Dukeofurl 11.1.1.1.2.1

              In 2009 , barely 9 months after the 2008 election and in the teeth of the Great recession when the possibility short working weeks were headline news, the national government changed the rules for the Land Tenure reviews so that yes high Country Stations that bordered the main lakes could have lakeside land freeholded, and so it happened .

              Some priority for a new government that affected a small number but involved 10s of millions of free money.

              Racing people who support NZ First , clearly is because of its racing polocies.

              Same as nationals announced proposal to overturn labours restrictions on property investors regarding 5 yr bright line and limiting property deductions .

              Property investors will support national with money , indeed will be door stopped by Nat Mps raising money

    • Karol121 11.2

      Yes there is.

      A monster might jump out carrying the banner of undesired transparency!

    • Craig H 11.3

      Not any more. In the past, the effort required for small amounts probably outweighed the public benefit, hence the de minimis thresholds, but with accounting software, that is taken care of.

  12. Dukeofurl 12

    There seems to be two hats Brian Henry wears.

    Brian Phillip Henry The managing director of Treasury and Equity Management previously Goldman Henry Capital Management – the Henry family investment business.

    Then there is the barrister Brian Henry who is closely involved with NZ First and Winston Peters legal battles.

    Is there dirty politics from the Nats again over this , this time as Radio NZ as the mouthpiece for work done by the National party research unit ?

    Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett both had lawyers letters to the media political editors spelling out 'black letter defamation law' over both Mps troubles . For Bridges it was chinese donations and Bennett it was her DPB circumstances.

    RNZ never seems to lead on those sorts of stories . One of the RNZ journalists was one of the J-L Ross 'wronged women' in parliament. That close ..huh.!

    • Sacha 12.1

      Got any links to back up that last claim?

      • Dukeofurl 12.1.1

        https://www.newsroom.co.nz/@politics/2018/10/17/281200/jami-lee-ross-four-women-speak-out

        Cant really provide my other links, as they identify this person directly and I dont think they want that on this blog , which is fine.

        You seem to be quick to defend the journos in lost of situations, is that your line of work ?

        I quite often write directly to journalists about false claims, you would be surprised how often they twist and turn to avoid changing what they said . Radio NZ, just wait 6 weeks to change anything.

        • Sacha 12.1.1.1

          Thank you. Nothing in there mentions a journalist. I do not want a name, just wondered if there had been one in a public story that I had somehow missed. Not because I am one, either.

          • Karol121 12.1.1.1.1

            I don't wish to put something that could be off the mark in relation to RNZ National, but I sometimes do seriously wonder whether or not some persistent pressure is being brought to bear on RNZ National, and directly from various Wellington political circles.

            Use of (non-formally stated) levers are not unheard of. History tells us that.

            How about pressure pertaining perhaps to government restructuring of both RNZ National, RNZ Concert and TVNZ if the tone or commentary is to the dislike of the above mentioned circles, too often?

            They appear to very much attempt to be as accurate and as informative as they can be, given their budget. And in relation to challenging government policy, they historically have a track record of being quite provocative.

            But on opinion and some content, if my suspicions are anything to go by, I just can't help but feel that in more recent times, various constraints might have been directly but quietly imposed on them through the grapevine, and also some distant coaching provided to them in relation to ideal behaviour more satisfactory to certain spin doctors.

  13. JustMe 13

    For many politicians in the political world it's so easy to find a loophole in a Law in order to either avoid declaring a donation or a loan.

    For example John Banks requested from Kim Dotcom for a split donation so neither would need to be declared.

    Whilst some sense of honesty is required by politicians it does appear some have a gross disregard for being honest eg requesting split donations etc. And there are some politicians especially those in the previous National government that actively courted those more wealthier Instant Kiwi citizens in return for donations or bids at a auction night to raise funds in the run up to the previous election.

    We simple NZers expect politicians to be honest with us as we pay their wages and perks of the job. But when one former politician made promises to even the families of the Pike River 29 and happily reneged on those pre-election promises. One was caught out Double Dipping and referred to low income NZers as 'living beyond their means and MUST experience financial cutbacks' eg in health, welfare, education, housing etc,.etc.etc. I am sure we all know there is as Sir Ed Hillary once said "I have never met an honest politician'.

    • Dukeofurl 13.1

      Dotcomm 2 x donations were declared, but falsely as anonymous. There was also a Skycity one that Banks asked for the money and walked out of the office with a cheque in his pocket. That also was anonymous . ( this was the first one that caught attention as they declared it in their annual report, for technical legal questions he was charged on this one but not convicted)

      All up some thing like 15 or so 'Team Banksy' donations were declared as anonymous. Indeed no names at all. Others amounts didnt need to be declared.

      This case was important , as Anonymous was until then, seen as a way to cover it up. Now a judge declared that if you asked for money or person said they were giving that wasnt truly anonymous.

      Right after this the Nats started washing all the electorate Mps donations through the party bank accounts as they could exploit the party $15k threshold which was only $1500 for Mps. The Mps only donor is now usually ' NZ National Party' even though we all know MPs are responsible for raising their own money for electorate expenses. They dont even put their own name !!

      • Karol121 13.1.1

        Yes indeed.

        It would probably be inappropriate for me to suggest that they have all been in to it, boots and all, but what you suggest is a definite historic pattern of funding "jiggledy dee", by many.

        With regard to identifying vehicles (as entities) used for purposes such as donations to various political parties, (not always specifically defined as same by persons within their hierarchy but widely considered to be questionable among the general public), there appears to be opportunity out there to move and re-label funding, but presumably, in a (kind of) legitimate manner.

        However, my further thoughts on it are that they are usually well "lawyered up" and I would expect that expert opinion provided to them in relation to such transactions would hold more validity than just a "testing the water" in relation to such transactions.

        However, having suggested this, people do slip up from time to time, even lawyers with considerable experience working in the field of trusts viewed as financial vehicles, and both non charity incorporated societies and charitable organisations.

  14. Paul Campbell 14

    Seems to me that this might be a great time to pass some real campaign finance laws – the Greens are for it, Winston's in a position where he could be 'persuaded', we just need Labour to pull it all together

    Let's publish political party's account books, identify every donor (people are donating online, that should be easy). There should be no secret money in politics

  15. Cricklewood 15

    Seems someone has leaked financial records, timed to do significant damage as I'll bet current donors to the foundation are going to be very reluctant to put in further money at this point which will hurt in an election year.

    Secondly if someone has the names of donors is there more to come? Thinking about fisheries cameras on boats etc that NZ First effectively vetoed. Will get very sticky for the govt as a whole if say Talleys for instance was sending money through the foundation.

    Then the story really kicks off, sure we all know money buys influence and there are machinations behind the scenes to sink Winston but this has the potential to drag lab and the greens down by association.

    • lprent 15.1

      Perhaps we should start with the current opposition – after all there is an existing running investigation on them already eh?

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