The 2017 General Election electorate expense returns

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, February 4th, 2018 - 27 comments
Categories: act, Amy Adams, democratic participation, elections, electoral commission, greens, jacinda ardern, Kelvin Davis, labour, national, Nikki Kaye, nz first, paula bennett, Politics, Shane Jones, united future - Tags: ,

The 2017 electorate expense returns were made public a couple of days ago. For those tragic politicos like myself they provide a great deal of interesting information and an insight into how the parties are doing.

A couple of initial comments. Donations do not include all donations, just the total of those over a certain amount.

And expenses do not include all expenses, just those that qualify under the Electoral Act 1993. Basically these are advertising expenses.

Overall National spent a lot more than Labour. There is nothing surprising about this, it happens every time. Labour matches National in that the efforts of its activists, which are not attributed, mean that in most seats it can campaign as well as National.

National declared $1.1 million of spending on electorate campaigns compared to Labour’s $682 thousand. NZ First declared $203k and the Greens $79k which was bolstered by a $14k spend in Nelson. TOP spent $110k which was quite high and ACT spent $24k most of it in Epsom.

National continued with its custom of collating most donations nationally and then distributing them locally. But there were some standouts. Simon Bridges declared $120,000 in local donations, and a fair chunk of this came from a company called Seventh City Finance Ltd. The director of the Company, Paul Adams, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015.  Todd Muller in the Bay of Plenty seat and Euon Murrell in Mana also received some generous donations from this entity.

I believe he is the same Paul Adams who was a United Future MP for a while and was heavily involved in Christian politics. [Update:  looks like this is not correct.  See comments below]

Lawrence Yule also received a significant amount of donations, $83,000 worth, but they were all from National Head Office. And he only declared $23,000 in expenses. It would be interesting to see what the rest of the donations were spent on.

Other recipients of central office largesse included Andrew Falloon in Rangitata, Chris Bishop in Hutt South, David Hiatt in Wigram, and Nicola Willis in Wellington Central, again with most of the donations coming from head office although Willis managed to gain some personal donations.  Clearly this shows the seats National viewed as either problematic or potential gains.

Lowest donation gatherers were Paulo Garcia in New Lynn and Paul Goldsmith in Epsom. Goldsmith is in an unusual position, where during an election campaign he is not expected to do anything.

Labour’s returns were more mundane. The highest amount was $67,500 obtained by Anna Lorck the unsuccessful Tukituki candidate but most of that was from her Labour Electorate Committee. Next was Kelvin Davis with Jacinda Ardern a close third with most of the donations being art.

The recipient of the lowest amount of donations apart from a few in National held seats was Chris Hipkins.  The one donation he received was from his electorate committee.  The election spend ($3,835.53) was also very modest.  Labour’s average spend per seat was $9,600.

New Zealand First’s returns are interesting.  Shane Jones received $10,000 from Talleys and $2,000 from Tony Gibbs.  Winston Peters declared only the one donation, from NZ First for $20,000.

Other recipients of Talleys generosity include Amy Adams, Paula Bennett, Sarah Dowie, Nikki Kaye, Todd McClay, Maureen Pugh, and Stuart Smith who each received the sum of $5,000 from Talleys.

ACT’s David Seymour had a perfectly balanced return with one donation of $14,007 from head office matching the total of expenses.

Party expenses returns are due to be filed on or about February 23.

27 comments on “The 2017 General Election electorate expense returns ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Don’t forget the un-costed activities of National’s activists at the New Zealand Herald, Mediaworks and TVNZ.

    • mickysavage 1.1


      • Marilyn Campbell 1.1.1

        Just reminder, as it has not been raised so far this year, 2018 is last option for another five years to change to the Maori roll for those eligible and who wish to. On the basis of currently, and in the past, my electoral vote having little effect in Tauranga I have changed over this morning.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    So Simon Bridges, wannebe leader of the National party, is bankrolled by a fundy wingnut? Colour me surprised.

    Still, it is nice to know the “new’ National party as represented by Bridges is colonised up to the gills by Evangelical nasties.

    • Areader 2.1

      No, he is not. As per my comment further down, Paul HUNTER Adams, of Tauranga, is not the “fundy wingnut” – that man is Paul GAVIN Adams, Pastor of City Impact Church, East Coast Bays in Auckland.

  3. Greg 3

    Nats are total wankers there nothing good to say about them

  4. patricia bremner 4

    Did eminem get counted?

    • red-blooded 4.1

      Surely this will end up being a cost, rather than an (unwilling) donation.😄

    • mickysavage 4.2

      Good question. It arguably should be part of National’s party expense return for the 2014 election and may blow the cap if they fail on appeal …

  5. Nick 5

    And still they lost… Hehe

  6. DoublePlusGood 6

    This does explain why the leadership of Talleys aren’t all in prison for scummy business practices.

    • Cinny 6.1

      Not sure but it does explain why PT (Peter Talley) was at the RSA to listen to Winston speak last year, never seen him at any other political event in Motueka before, he knew change was coming and covered his bases well.

      His generoristy to various nat MP’s nation wide is of interest however, thanks for the knighthood, nice barter lololol. PT usually just makes token donations to the blue and Red candidates in our region for most elections.

  7. BM 7

    I think the time union employees spend on Labour electioneering/campaigning needs to be included in electoral expenses.

    You include that and Labour would outspend National by a long way.

    • I feel love 7.1

      All I heard was “wah wah wah”.

    • Wensleydale 7.2

      I hear the unions are also to blame for the war in Syria, male pattern baldness and sudden infant death syndrome. Something must be done to halt their vile rampage at once.

    • Thinkerr 7.3

      Not really. National has its own equivalent.

      Numerous journalists, talk-show hosts, and businesspeople all get behind National, I think.

      Whatever happened to Peter Shirtcliff?

      And under your new rules, BM (sorry, still can’t get over your choice of moniker – I take it you’ve never worked in the health or care sectors!!) wouldn’t the Nats have to account for the likes of Whaleoil & David Farrar, which must be significant?

  8. eco maori 8

    It would be good to see how much national spent on social media to brain wash the innocent people with the way the polls swung back to national when joice lied about Labours having $11 billion hole in the forecast budget . here a link on youtube algorithm helping trump winning the President of America from the Guardian who audit these donations I will bet even though I don’t gamble that national spent a lot more than that they would have found a way to circumvent the rules on donations Ana to kai
    Ka kite ano

  9. Son of Don 9

    3rd Party advertising; Unions, Religious Groups and “Anonymous” etc would certainly change the spend for ALL parties.

    As for media bias; the constant shrill from the Left that Media in NZ is right leaning is a joke. You give me Mark Richardson I give you John Campbell, you give me Paddy Gower I give you Sue Bradford and so it goes on, and on, and on…..

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      Yes, because everyone watches Sue Bradford’s show at 7 o’clock on Channel Doesn’t Exist.


    • Carolyn_Nth 9.2

      It’s mainly the corporate media that has a left wing bias – so RNZ, as our only public service broadcaster, doesn’t count – ditto Sue Bradford who is on the margins.

      Tell me again how the Powers that Be in TV3 begged John Campbell not to pull out of Campbell Live and leave the channel.

    • Cinny 9.3

      At least the unions are straight up transparent re their support.

      Compare this to the nats who have been caught out before re secretive dealings with religious groups, in particular extensive behind-the-scenes cooperation between national and the Exclusive Brethren with steven joyce named as a key go between.

      “A $1.2m leaflet campaign by Exclusive Brethren businessmen to discredit Labour and the Green Party in the leadup to the 2005 election became a public relations disaster for National, who initially denied any knowledge of the campaign.”

    • Philg 9.4

      Son Of Don, media bias. If your a right winger, the MSM will look like its left wing. If your a child, adults all look big. Go figure. 😀

  10. Areader 10

    Mickey, you have the wrong Paul Adams. Paul HUNTER Adams, who is a director of Seventh City Finance Ltd, is a businessman, engineer and philanthropist based in Tauranga. Paul GAVIN Adams is a Pastor of City Impact Church in East Coast Bays and a former United Future political aspirant. A quick Google image search will also show you that the two men bear no physical resemblance beyond being Caucasian males of a certain age. A read of this Herald article will demonstrate that they are very different in character:

    [Thanks will correct. I was not sure but the name and geography made me think they were the same – MS]

  11. Marilyn Campbell 11

    This is however the same Paul Adams who controls every last one of what was the entire stock of Housing NZ homes in Tauranga that National sold to IHC.

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