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The Beginning Of The End?

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Ardern says New Zealand First loans to be investigated independently

From RadioNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it would be dangerous for democracy if political parties step in as the arbiter of New Zealand’s electoral law.

The National Party is demanding Ms Ardern ensure the New Zealand First donations scandal is properly investigated.

The Electoral Commission is looking into a complaint about an entity called the New Zealand First Foundation, which has loaned the party tens of thousands of dollars. Loans are not subject to the same disclosure rules as donations.

Reports on Stuff.co.nz have prompted further questions about how the foundation is being used.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he was confident the party had always acted within the law and he was looking forward to discussing the matter with the Electoral Commission.

National leader Simon Bridges said Ms Ardern needed to step in and ensure the investigation was robust and carried out properly.

“It’s Winston Peters that props up this Jacinda Ardern government, he is her number two, he is at the very core of it and I think New Zealanders want to know whether they can trust it.

“A question she should be able to get good advice on and answer is whether this should be referred by her or someone in government to the police,” he said.

But Ms Ardern said this was a matter for the Electoral Commission to handle as an independent third party.

“It would be totally inappropriate for any political party to have a role in investigating or inquiring into another political party.

“That is not what I call a transparent democracy that New Zealand upholds, we need independence here,” she said.

Ms Ardern said she had spoken to Mr Peters who assured her “New Zealand First are actively and openly” working with the Electoral Commission.

However she would not say whether she had sought an assurance from him that no donors to the New Zealand First Foundation had received any policy or funding favours.

“Ultimately those are matters for the Electoral Commission to determine and they are working with them on that.

“They’re the independent third party, that’s where the public look to for those reassurances,” Ms Ardern said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said “of course” the public could trust him, as he continued to face questions about political donations.

“We’ve got the Electoral Commission looking at all of those matters and when they’re finished, they’ll give you the answers.”

The party would need “some considerable time to assemble all the information which we’re happy to give to the Electoral Commission and I look forward to them telling you the truth”.

A “whole lot of people” were making “fake news, false allegations – and we’ll prove that to you,” he told reporters.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Wine Stone will have some sarcastic rude, arrogant and nasty response, and the fairy dust princess is probably to frightened of him to do anything. It could bring the col down. Oh how fabulous that would be

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    • It will always be the money trail that brings down crooks and liars. When you have a party treasurer resigning because he cannot sign off accounts, then it stinks higher than a wine box full of dog shit.

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      • Well given the media have started naming people it’s only a matter of time. The rats are scurrying now that the lid has been lifted.

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      • Winston was proven right about the Wine Box matter.

        But don’t let facts get in the way of your Winston Derangement Syndrome.

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  2. Why would it take some time?
    Becuase records were not kept perhaps?
    Businesses would not get away with that excuse.
    IRD or the drug squad would grab all the info before anyone was allowed the oppourtunity to doctor it.

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  3. That Foundation and its activities are wrong on several counts.
    It hides large donations
    It allows people to have influence (bribe) the Regional growth fund as to what to give funds for

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  4. I’m not aware of anything in electoral law that prevents loans to a political party. Yeah, it’s sophistry. NZF has broken the spirit of the law, but I don’t think the law itself. Combine that with the way Ardern sprinkles fairy dust and how her followers are willing to forgive even sexual abuse and theft in the name of staying in power – what does a few hundred thousand dollars of corrupt money matter?

    As the saying goes: It is different when the left do it. I hope something will, but I don’t think anything will come from this.

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  5. Helen Clark, is she Labours handbag person, like Clayton Mitchell is New Zealand Firsts?
    What des the Helen Clark Foundation do that is differant than NZFs one?

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  6. Who are the donors behind the NZ First Foundation?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117577119/who-are-the-donors-behind-the-nz-first-foundation

    “The revelation that Mitchell was one of the bagmen for the NZ First Foundation could derail Peters’ assertion that the party and foundation, which received more than $500,000 worth of donations, are not connected.

    Donations to the foundation are under the $15,000 threshold required for the party to declare them, but several donors said they believed they understood they were donating money to NZ First, and not the foundation.

    It can also be revealed that at least some donors spoken to by Stuff were not aware that donations were going to foundation and not the political party.”

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  7. wg, yes a well practice repeat
    Just like the Vela donations., different accounts, different banking etc… a well lubed pathway, from ten years ago.
    Though the media cover this, no real follow up; no real continuing challenge, more of let sleeping dogs lie, and the voter, like the general knowledge quizz, seems to forget.

    a series of donations from accounts linked to the Vela family _ heavyweight players in the racing and fishing industries _ and totalling at least $150,000 were made to the party. ….
    ….. The cheques from Vela family fishing and thoroughbred companies were written out to NZ First from around the year 1999 to 2003.
    The Vela donations were made in accordance with electoral laws which allow sums of less than $10,000 to be donated anonymously. …..
    … The cheques were understood to be for amounts of $10,000 or less which meant they do not need to be declared, unless the party knew it was receiving more than $10,000 from the same company or person in a calendar year.

    The donations do not appear in NZ First’s annual declarations to the Electoral Commission.

    Asked to comment on whether or not all of the donations were banked into NZ First’s account, a spokesman for Peters said: “NZ First’s audits are independently audited. They comply with the laws of disclosure at all times.” …..

    …. understands the cheques were written out to NZ First from Vela bank accounts including P.J Vela, P.M Vela, Vela Fishing, Vela Quota Number 1 and Number 2 accounts and Pencarrow Stud. ….
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/542648/Fresh-queries-over-funds

    And so the history repeats, and rhymes.
    The media itself is corrupt, with its own agenda, like “Covering Climate Now” and “Solution Journalism” etc.. so how can it call out others in the the trough when it is deeply in bed with corruption?
    It may give a cursory sweep around the edges, to try and keep credibility, but really no intent of being clean.

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  8. On red radio this morning, for the “belt way” followers. 🙂
    On website, then click on “listen”
    Can stop and start, and to adjust the “time play” just click on the moving blue line.
    Not the other arrows.

    “Kathryn Ryan talks to Andrew Geddis, a Professor of Public Law at the University of Otago, specialising in electoral law and political commentators Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams.”
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018723366/fresh-new-zealand-first-foundation-revelations

    AG starts at 50 secs. Ends at 13 min 50 sec.
    MH & MW then begins and goes through to 26.44

    I sort of hope this does drag on, drip by drip, and confuses, consumes all their energy, drives them to drug of choice, & ages & ‘dementiazes’ them all involved.
    That is what they are trying to impose on NZ.
    I think then, enough voters will get, but Winston is a very greasy character, and that burning grease, seems too often have the phoenix arise again.
    No media seem to keep a wooden stake to fire up.

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    • Thanks for the link. Geddis does clarify the Loan/Donation question by saying all the loans were for a year so repayment by NZF party is lawful and not re portable to electoral commission but forgiveness becomes a declarable donation. The only other possibility is the loan being rolled over and Geddis says that should be easily verified by the parties given the foundation trustees are peters lawyer and an ex MP. Proof should be straightforward by the loans being on both parties balance sheets or the repayment shown in the revenue account (P&L). If repaid then questions arise as to the source of funds used, if rolled over then some documentation should be available setting out the new loan terms. Given peters history of manipulation/duplicity I suspect there will be a breach of the actual laws and if the commission finds so the Police (Ha Ha) will be asked to investigate. Given the current somewhat similar problem for National over JLR then the commission should different decisions be made. Matthew Hooton made the point that the cabinet manual does impose a responsibility of the part time pm to ensure her ministers personal, party & ministerial actions are within cabinet manual guidelines. arderns statements that she is not responsible shows just how shallow her knowledge is – eg GDP (Good day paddy) and now that some donors have come forward to effectively complain they were misled over the destination of their money/gift/donation indicates that this issue has a high potential to sink the petanic and take ardern with it, whatever the commission or police decision the highest court ie public opinion is unlikely to accept anything less than corruption and deception at the highest level and vote accordingly. ardern – mugabe would be proud of you.

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    • Simpleton, the case is there as Hooton pointed out. Sadly, Bridges was let down by his researchers. My hope is:
      1. Ardern will stick with the Toxic Gnome;
      2. That there will be a constant drip feed of these matters through into next year;
      3. That the toxic mud will stick to both Labour & NZF; and
      4. At the start of the election campaign Bridges rules out NZF. So that people can be left in no doubt, that a vote for Peters, is a vote for the Toxic trio (Liebore, NZ Last and the RedMelons).
      4.

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  9. The comment made yesterday by a previous NZF party member was if anyone associated with NZF asked too many questions they got moved on or out. A very tight lid has been kept on the funding management of NZF by a small group of individuals in the know. Voters deserve clear and solid election funding laws that provide complete clarity to prevent any suggestion of political back scratching. Winston can obfuscate all he likes but our watchdog departments or IRD need to get to the bottom of the NZF dodgy funding quagmire.

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  10. In Parliament yesteday.
    Andrew Little said that National and Labor both had quite a few donations over $15,000, the Greens had some and Act had 7 and New Zealand First had none!
    In the words of Maxwell Smart…. I find that hard to believe.

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    • https://elections.nz/democracy-in-nz/political-parties-in-new-zealand/donations-exceeding-30000/

      Check here for details
      these are $30k and above in one year

      Sad sack Liebour dont have many friends.
      Maybe because they hate so much on people that have worked and have discretionary money and dont need to be beneficiaries..
      Seems Philip Mills (son of Les Mills and benefactor of his name – as Olympian and Mayor) gives generously to them running about 60k a year and similar amount to the Greens.
      Philip Mills sounds a bit cracked!
      Glad I dont go to Les Mills Gym any more and contribute to this.

      Plus Hon Robert Smellie QC gives to Liebour

      But correct DN , little showing for NZ First.

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  11. Winston has been here many times before. He will leverage off this publicity to his advantage.

    Like the crafty old shit always does.

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  12. Is that picture of WP and SLG photoshopped?
    Or is Winston’s chair nearer the camera to make him look bigger than he is?

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  13. That providing the information “will take a considerable time” is troubling.

    I do not see this as the PM interfering in the business of a Coalition partner. I see it as a duty on the PM to be sure, all the time, that the elements of the Coalition she is leading are above reproach. Taking a considerable time to gather information does not meet that test. I have heard prevarication and distraction from Mr Peters in response to reasonable questions. He needs to lift his game to convince me all is well and there is no substance to the assertions made. Waiting a considerable time for him to provide information to the Electoral Commission does not assist credibility..

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  14. Winston Peters’ lawyer threatens to sue Simon Bridges, Nick Smith
    21 Nov, 2019 3:02pm

    Winston Peters’ lawyer and the man behind the New Zealand First Foundation – Brian Henry – is threatening to sue National leader Simon Bridges and senior MP Nick Smith.

    Newstalk ZB’s political editor Barry Soper has seen emails sent to the National MPs today.

    Henry’s apparently lost a major contract with the United States as a result of claims by the MPs that there’s been an electoral loan scam by the party.

    He’s inviting Bridges and Smith to either repeat their claims outside the House, where they’re not covered by parliamentary privilege, or apologise.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12287240&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nzh_fb&fbclid=IwAR2nJxgUFOEtqNqspnxwgmx5hXllxOfd7SfPSXchfW-6XvEHpFBS1kNw5UE

    Here are Espiner’s details about the loans: “Records show New Zealand First has disclosed three loans from the New Zealand First Foundation. In 2017, it received $73,000. Then in 2018, it received a separate loan of $76,622, in what the Electoral Commission says was a loan executed to ‘replace the first loan’. In 2019, it received another loan for $44,923. Those giving money to the foundation are able to remain anonymous because under electoral law, loans are not subject to the same disclosure requirements as donations.”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12287292

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  15. ‘That’s for them’ – Ardern distances herself from funding scandal enveloping NZ First
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/thats-them-ardern-distances-herself-funding-scandal-enveloping-nz-first?auto=6106948403001

    “It would simply not be appropriate for a politician to investigate another political party or politician in the same way that I did not involve myself in the Serious Fraud Office investigation that is currently underway with the National Party, it’s not for me to involve myself in any investigation by the Electoral Commission.”

    Ms Ardern then said “of course I have had conversations with the deputy Prime Minister over the issues he is currently dealing with but they are best determined by the Electoral Commission”.

    Despite Mr Peters being present at the police graduation, the pair did separate media conferences.

    “It’s not my habit of doing joint press conferences,” she said.”
    – despite that claim, there were then several shots of joint press conferences of Cindy and Winston in joint press conferences. 🤥

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