This business with donations from the Spencer Trust going to New Zealand First but not being declared. I find it hard to credit that this was an accident. It seems beyond belief that no-one in the party would have seen the donation declaration at some point and said ‘hey, what about that $50K from the Spencer Trust?’
So why purposely leave the donation undeclared? Maybe NZF didn’t want to be seen as hypocrites, campaigning against big money but taking big money. Maybe some money came from a source which would be politically damaging. But that’s what National used the secret trusts for, why not do that? The secret trusts were legal at the time, National was moving millions through them. Well, NZF wanted to oppose the secret trusts too and not appear hypocritical by using them.
The obvious solution would to have been to not take the money but the other option would just been to spread the donations around so they were paid to NZF from several sources (this ‘funnelling’ is banned under the EFA but was legal beforehand) and make them in different years so that no payment in one year from one source came in over the $10K reporting threshold. A little complicated but legal and if it ever came out it, the paper trail would be clear from Bob Jones, through a trust or two to NZF.
But pooling donations into a trust and then making a large donation from that trust to the Party without not reporting the trust’s donation? Weird. Incompetent, really. Maybe they should have asked National for advice.