We welcome the Electoral Commission’s referral to the police. It confirms our prior view that only the police would have the powers to determine the issues involved.
In light of the Electoral Commission’s findings today the New Zealand First Party can also confirm it will be reviewing its arrangements for party donations.
New Zealand First’s arrangements for collecting donations has been the same as other political parties. The New Zealand First Foundation is built upon the trust deed of the National Party.
However, the Electoral Commission’s statement today further underscores the importance of reviewing the donations regime. I had already advised the party last week to take this course of action and itself refer the matter to the police, which the party had agreed to do.
This does not imply any impropriety but is intended to ensure the party, as with all parties, have robust arrangements.
If the review deems it necessary for New Zealand First and all parties to develop new arrangements to receive donations the party will consult with the Electoral Commission.
This party is built on the support of loyal supporters and donors and believes it has followed the law implicitly.
I am advised that in all its dealings the Foundation sought outside legal advice and does not believe it has breached the Electoral Act.
At this stage the SFO will consider if an offence has been committed, or otherwise, and it is not appropriate to make any comment on specific detail that prejudges their investigation.