Tag Archive: corruption

More dodgy donations

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel is the latest NZ politician to run afoul of election donation laws.

When Dalziel was fundraising for her mayoral campaign this year, $40,100 came from a dinner and wine auction at the Southern Asia Restaurant in Colombo St organised by her husband, lawyer Rob Davidson.

Davidson had donated the wine, and Dalziel identified him alone as a donor at that event despite some bidders paying high prices for bottles.

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The largest donor was Wei Min Lu, who paid $17,000 for wine – more than 11 times the $1500 limit that must be declared under the Act.

Dalziel said on Thursday she took Davidson’s advice on what she was required to declare. She then said she regretted not taking independent advice on her election return. 

So Davidson actually *donated* the wine, even though they were paid for by other people. Dodgy.

This could be acceptable if this was someone who had never been in politics before. But Dalziel has been Christchurch’s mayor since 2013. Before that she was an MP from 1990, which included time as a minister. She should know better than this.

This needs to be investigated by the Christchurch electoral officer.

But what’s really frustrating is that dodgy donations like these are a re-occurring theme in NZ politics.

The article I linked above lists a number of examples of dodgy practices like this at a local level, citing examples such as Auckland mayor Phil Goff, a pair of candidates in Marlborough, and the new Waimakiri mayor.

On a national level the NZ First Foundation scandal is still fresh in everyone’s minds, and National aren’t squeaky clean in this area either.

NZ is one of the least corrupt nations on earth. News like this shouldn’t be constant.

What scares me is that this is probably only a fraction of the real amount of politicians that run foul of donation laws. There are probably more that don’t get caught.

Corrupt on one hand, corrupt on the other

I’m late to the party about whatever the hell is going on with the NZ First Foundation. But in the long of the short of it, no matter which way you look at it, dodgy stuff is almost certainly going on.

Last time I blogged about this, it appeared that the NZ First Foundation was only giving NZ First loans, meaning they just skirted around electoral laws. But as Graeme Edgeler states, nope, that doesn’t just skirt around electoral laws.

Edgeler says that if the foundation has been used to pay NZ First’s bills, those payments would be considered donations.

The loans were used to pay NZ First’s bills, such as advertising and payments to the IRD. Hence, donation. And these were all large donations over fifteen thousand dollars.

And there’s still confusion as to what the foundation is – is it part of the party? Is it separate? But regardless, it’s probably illegal. Again, Edgeler can state this far better than I, so I’ll let him.

“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 offenses around declaring donations or failing to keep records.

Just a reminder: NZ is supposed to be the second least corrupt nation on earth. This should not be acceptable here, this is not ok. Donations must be declared.

The good news is that the electoral commission is investigating. The better news is that police might do their own investigation, with Act MP and leader David Seymour stating that he may go to the police.

Worse news: silence from the Labour and the Greens. You can give them the benefit of the doubt and say they aren’t going to comment until after the results of the electoral commission investigation. But the sad fact is that they wouldn’t be in power without NZ First, and hence will most likely not comment because they need it to stay that way.

God, the results of the commission’s investigation can not come soon enough.

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