The SFO has put out a press release a few days before overseas voting starts. This was in
They have not laid charges against NZ First or anyone in it – excluding comprehensively…. It isn’t…
…a Minister, sitting MP, or candidate in the upcoming election (or a member of their staff), or a current member of the New Zealand First party.
I suspect that someone has been pointing out the civil law consequences of doing anything less….
They have laid charges…
The SFO has filed a charge of ‘Obtaining by Deception’ against two defendants in the New Zealand First Foundation electoral funding case. The charges were filed on 23 September.
The defendants have interim name suppression and so cannot be named or identified at this time.
I’d emphasise that the last sentence means that if you try to speculate about who the defendants here in any manner beyond what is said in the SFO statement, then I’m going to ban you for 3 years. That is our local law. Despite the curious association between “two defendants” and “New Zealand First Foundation” in that statement, there is nothing to indicate that there is a employment association between those two.
This result is what I was expecting back in April. Essentially the electoral donation laws in NZ are wide enough to shove several buses through side by side.
People may not like that, but the way to deal with that is express your contempt for all parties that do this kind of crap. National in particular are notorious for the use of external foundations who deal with donations. But currently doing this kind of influence peddling was part of what the Electoral Finance Act was designed to diminish back in 2007.
I’m sure that many of the hypocrites who decried that attempt at controlling political donations and influencing back then will be the most voracious on this decision. They were those in the forefront of removing that Act in 2008, and never creating anything to effectively diminish the problem.
Winston Peters rightfully points at this second legal run by political opponents against him and his party using the police and SFO as being a legal travesty. It was unfortunately lawful.
Personally I think that the complainants need to be looked at for deliberately wasting Electoral Commission, Police and SFO time and resources. I’d like to see the complainant(s) see charges of that against themselves to constrain another round of this kind of poor behaviour.
What does worry me is that it took so long for the police and SFO to deal with this. Coming out with results mere days before the voting starts feels to me to be a political interference in its own right.
BTW: I don’t like NZ First or most of it’s policies. However I also find the kind of political tripping that was so characteristic of the era of Dirty Politics to be more dangerous.