Drip feed continues on NZ First Foundation donations

The media drip feed continues as more details have been published about donations to the NZ First Foundation.

Yesterday RNZ: Concerns over secret fisheries donations to NZ First Foundation

One of the country’s biggest fishing companies, Talley’s, and its managing director donated nearly $27,000 to the New Zealand First Foundation, which has been bankrolling the New Zealand First Party.

The foundation received $26,950 from seafood giant Talley’s and from managing director Sir Peter Talley between 2017 and 2019, according to records viewed by RNZ.

It received the money from Talley’s in four amounts – all of which were below the threshold for public disclosure and so have not been publicly revealed until now.

Greenpeace was concerned by the donations and believed the New Zealand First Party had too much sway over fishing policy and the party was too close to the industry.

These don’t seem big amounts or a big deal, nor a surprise. I think Talleys and the fishing industry have are well known to have supported NZ First. The difference here is that donations are allegedly being hidden by channelling them via the Foundation rather than to the party where public declarations are required.

Today at Stuff:  Billionaires among the full list of donors supporting NZ First

A raft of multimillionaire rich-listers are among the funders of Winston Peters’ NZ First party, donating large and undisclosed sums to a slush fund now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

Stuff can reveal a longer list of donors to the NZ First Foundation up to April 2019 – which appears to operate as a political slush fund – based on Foundation documents seen by Stuff. It includes New Zealand’s richest man, Graeme Hart, and the billion-dollar Spencer family.

Business magnates, property developers, a chicken farmer, and thoroughbred horse breeders are among the wealthy known to have contributed heavily to the foundation, which tallied more than $500,000 in donations.

There is no suggestion the donors have done anything wrong or acted illegally.

Former NZ First MP Doug Woolerton, a trustee of the NZ First Foundation and a government lobbyist, told the Politik website last year that the party has “always thought [its] constituency was the guy who owns the shop, the guy who fixes the tractors”.

“It’s not the farmers. It’s the people who service the farmers who do the grunt work day to day,” he said.

But the donations show NZ First retains the support of some of New Zealand’s business elite and wealthiest individuals.

A WORKING-CLASS PARTY

Despite gathering financial support from New Zealand’s lofty elite, NZ First maintains it is the party dedicated to meeting the needs of working-class Kiwis.

Newshub yesterday: Shane Jones concerned New Zealand First donors will be put-off in election year

Shane Jones is concerned about donors to New Zealand First being “depicted as some type of leper” as new revelations emerge about donations to the New Zealand First Foundation.

The NZ First MP said he is “genuinely not aware” of the functioning of the NZ First Foundation, which is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over allegations it’s been hiding donations for the party.

Jones said he’s worried about a “clear agenda” designed to “spook and quite frankly stigmatise industries” that New Zealand First relies on for support as a political party.

There may be a bit of that, but politicians under scrutiny often claim to be the victims of agendas. Winston Peters has often claimed to be a victim of the media and other things.

But none of this would have happened if NZ First hadn’t use a Foundation to, apparently, hide donations.

The Electoral Commission announced earlier this month that following an investigation it found the NZ First Foundation had “received donations which should have been treated as party donations for the New Zealand First Party”.

The Electoral Commission referred the matter to police who then referred it to the SFO which confirmed this month that an investigation had been launched.

Jones, a Cabinet minister, said he “accepts that there is a statutory process in place”.

He told Newshub: “I genuinely feel as an MP that people who think that I represent a force for good in New Zealand politics and the economy… I’m very concerned that they may be depicted as some type of leper.”

Jones does have a history of involvement in the fisheries sector, having chaired Te Ohu Kaimoana – the Māori Fisheries Commission – and seafood company Sealord.

The Minister for Regional Economic Development said he has nothing to hide, pointing to a donation he received from Talley’s in 2017 for $10,000 which was declared in his electorate candidate donation expenses form.

“It’s a matter of public record that over the course of various elections I have received donations from the fishing industry,” Jones told Newshub.

“My role of advocacy for fishing, the red meat industry, for the mining industry – it’s an open book… I will never shirk or shy away from standing up for industry.”

It is unclear how much NZ First MPs knew about the Foundation.  Even Peters claimed to know nothing about it, but his story keeps changing, he also claims to know everything the Foundation didn’t do.

There have been suggestions that the Foundation effectively managed party finances and donations without the party officials being involved at all. Some officials have resigned over it, and may be the source of the information being revealed.

It seems unlikely the SFO case will get to court before the election. There’s even doubt whether they will announce whether they will prosecute, they are currently just investigating.

It has been claimed that the Foundation paid expenses on behalf of the Party. Somme of those details could be interesting.

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28 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  27th February 2020

    “Stuff can reveal a longer list of donors to the NZ First Foundation up to April 2019 –”… that must have come from the last meeting wit the ‘source’ in Tauranga that was snapped.
    “Billionaires among the full list of donors supporting NZ First
    Matt Shand and Thomas Manch.

    Of course all those $14,999 donations have been used by ‘another party’ as well, likely the same millionaires

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  27th February 2020

      Good old Duker, first to spring to the defense.

      “…that must have come from the last meeting wit the ‘source’ in Tauranga that was snapped.”

      Surely with ALL the evidence you have in regards the hand over of information, a visit to the Police to lay a charge of ‘theft while a servant’ is to be laid? No.

      Nah, you and NZ First are still grasping at straws.

      But look, a blazing flaming squirrel, they did it too.

      I think the nub of the problem is not the fact so many rich listers’ donated, but that NZ First promoted itself as the party of the working man whilst hobnobbing with anyone but the working man.

      That is going to be the real killer for NZ First.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  27th February 2020

        “The nub of the problem is not the fact so many rich listers’ donated, but that NZ First promoted itself as the party of the working man whilst hobnobbing with anyone but the working man?”

        I can see Stuff staff readying themselves for their next big campaign after they’ve rid us of NZF. It’ll be about rich listers being cynical enough to be donating money to charities to do with the poor. Good people everywhere will be up in arms about it.

        I’d be interested in whom the NZ First people are mixing with. I wonder if the journalists are on the scent trying to ascertain whether they’re mixing with ‘the working man?’ And if they are, if it gets called ‘hobnobbing.’

        (If you know a journalist looking for a sensational story or an ordinary citizen who wants to feel incensed and outraged, I know a Labour MP who has a lot of dealings with a very wealthy person. A totally incongruous and unacceptable situation I’m sure you’ll agree.)

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th February 2020

        Working man ?
        When you look it up they dont say that about themselves
        “The Party was formed in 1993 to represent those New Zealanders concerned about the social and economic direction of our country, and who were seeking pragmatic, common-sense representation in Parliament.”
        They also mention 15 Fundamental principles’ – which I had never heard of.
        https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0509/S00452/new-zealand-firsts-15-fundamental-principles.htm

        Where do YOU Gerrit see ‘working class’ in any of that …. thats because its a cliche invented by Stuff to suit their story line

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  27th February 2020

          National often claims it speaks for ‘hard working kiwis’ , does that too mean it doesnt accept money from ‘millionaires’ – but is happy to get ‘salami donations’ from people who want to get a captains pick for the party list.

          “On Tuesday, National Party president Peter Goodfellow said [Colin] Zheng was a member of the candidate college and would be considered as a candidate for the 2020 election. Goodfellow said he knew Zheng, and had personally encouraged him to sign up for the programme.” -Newsroom

          Now thats what I call a ‘donor’ !

          Reply
  2. duperez

     /  27th February 2020

    Stuff will have lists of donors to other parties in the coming months. How do I know? I know that they wouldn’t target just one party and seek to hold them to account but ignore others. They wouldn’t would they?

    “There is no suggestion the donors have done anything wrong or acted illegally,” say Matt Shand and Thomas Manch of Stuff while saying business magnates, property developers, a chicken farmer, and thoroughbred horse breeders are among the wealthy to have donated.

    Their article concludes with, “NZ First did not respond to a request for comment.” I can understand that.

    “Despite gathering financial support from New Zealand’s lofty elite, NZ First maintains it is the party dedicated to meeting the needs of working-class Kiwis.”

    NZ First possibly did not respond to a request for comment to get around calling the authors ‘tossers.’ Not for their crusade suggesting something sinister was going on but for feeling the need to add there’s no suggestion donors have done anything wrong or acted illegally .

    Their work has a shock, horror, something sinister is going on here, smell about it.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/119704872/billionaires-among-the-full-list-of-donors-supporting-nz-first

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th February 2020

      “NZ First did not respond to a request for comment.” I can understand that.”

      Didnt mention that NZ First has previously said the documents were stolen

      Reply
  3. NOEL

     /  27th February 2020

    All Kiwis!

    Reply
  4. Jones said: “ I represent a force for good in New Zealand politics and the economy”

    Buddy, you represent a force for Winston and if you forget that even the leper colony won’t take you after Winston is done with you. lol.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  27th February 2020

      as Duperez said…’I know that they wouldn’t target just one party and seek to hold them to account but ignore others. They wouldn’t would they?’

      Reply
  5. david in aus

     /  27th February 2020

    The best money these businessmen have ever spent.

    Reply
    • david in aus

       /  27th February 2020

      It would be interesting to see how they spent the generous donations. Does Winston have expensive tastes?

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th February 2020

        National raises far and away more money than other NZ parties …. Simon upgraded to a better house in Tauranga over a year back …was that the ‘expensive tastes ‘you are thinking about

        Reply
        • Gerrit

           /  27th February 2020

          Wow, just wow, more what aboutism. No mention of Ardern buying a better house for $1.8M back 3 years? Selective memory? Or just plain still grasping at straws?

          Mind you that is a serious allegation you have made against Bridges, but like the NZ First paper trail you are 100% sure was leaked during a meeting, it will be without any substance or proof so you are making gossip up to deflect from the NZ First problems..

          Pathetic

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  27th February 2020

            Dont be silly …. It was just to show party leaders can have ‘expensive tastes’ and they arent paid for by donations, everybody knows that. I worded it that way so not to make any allegations , but it seems some pearls have been clutched.

            Reply
            • Gerrit

               /  27th February 2020

              No Duker, you are throwing mud and nothing sticks.

              All in the vain hope to deflect. Waste of time.

  6. Duker

     /  27th February 2020

    At the ‘new Home’ with Simon – and a Womens Day photographer. No paparazzi snaps here

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  27th February 2020

      Pathetic and desperate, I guess this is all NZ First have to offer now, Whataboutism and innuendo.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th February 2020

        Pathetic ? Promising to deport Aussie Crim’s from NZ when we already do so…..I suppose he has to have a certain Target for his social media feed….how does he find the time to meet with donors who are eyeing a captains pick spot on the party list

        Reply
    • Corky

       /  27th February 2020

      Crikey, Duker! Not a gay in sight. No tattoos visible. No Maori. No Muslims. No white woke liberals. No blended families. No excuses for a failed life. And no pidgin English.

      The silent majority find that very appealing…let’s hope that converts into votes.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  27th February 2020

        Big Gay Out….Simon was promising more gay welfare funding….more interesting what he was promising while meeting the Secret Police chief in China, while back home he was promising more roads and Zero Carbon as he did at Paris climate Accord rubbing shoulders with Obama.

        Reply
        • Gerrit

           /  27th February 2020

          Meanwhile just as Duker is running still more deflection and whataboutism for NZFirst, more questions are being asked.

          https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/in-depth/410299/concerns-over-secret-fisheries-donations-to-nz-first-foundation

          And yet Ardern still does nothing.

          “The prime minister replied on 29 October, saying all ministers should abide by the Cabinet Manual and that conflict of interests were managed through the Cabinet Office.

          In an interview with RNZ, Norman queried how the conflict could be managed, given the donations from Talley’s had not been disclosed.”

          So we have a secret foundation, secret donations, secret loans and even murkier conflicts of interests, with a PTPM sitting on her hands.

          The longer this draws out the worse it will be for Labour.

          Will she have the fortitude to call Peters out and call an early election? An election that could see her standing improve in the electorate.

          Moreover will the Greens grow some internal fortitude and call out both Peters and Ardern by withdrawing from the CoL on principal? Or will they hang onto the vain hope it will all be OK on the 19th September.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  27th February 2020

            Are you saying there aren’t any questions about secret donations to national…well semi secret since a recording slipped out…no it wasn’t stolen.
            You mean there are no questions about people from national at the time who appeared in court this week…. Had to laugh at Simon’s Sgt Shultz impersonation on radio…

            Reply
            • Gerrit

               /  27th February 2020

              Deflection from NZFirst yet again. Naturally there are questions regarding National just as there are questions regarding Labour and $100K bottles of wine.

              But as this discussion is about NZFirst specifically, and the potential implications for Ardern, The Greens, and the fabric that tenuously holds the CoL together.

              But keep up the deflection, those blinkers cant hide the consequences of the shenanigans instigated by NZFirst and Peters for ever.

            • Duker

               /  28th February 2020

              No no no… the topic is ‘secret donations’. And yes all parties foundations and Trusts should be accounted for.
              National has plenty of those hidden behind the curtain outside their ‘National Foundation’

    • Blazer

       /  27th February 2020

      Simons doing it tough..can’t afford shoes for the sprogues under a..Col Govt!Bol.

      Reply

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