The Government coalition partner with the least donations revealed

New Zealand First received the lowest amount of donations compared to its coalition partners last year, new data shows. 

The party, led by Winston Peters, received almost $88,000 in donations in 2018 - almost the same as The Opportunities Party which isn't in government. 

The New Conservatives - also not in government - received just over $20,000 in donations last year, while the Māori Party brought in $2000. 

The New Zealand First Foundation gave the party a loan of $76,622 in 2018, which is almost as much as the party received in donations. 

The coalition partner that received the most donations was the Green Party which brought in over $600,000 in donations, towering over Labour which received just over $173,000. 

Despite not being in government, the National Party raked in almost $742,000 - the highest amount of donations out of all political parties in New Zealand. 

The ACT Party received over $145,000, despite only having one MP, David Seymour. 

The data published by the Electoral Commission shows that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave 26 fortnightly payments to Labour that amounted to almost $18,000. 

The party only received two donations over $15,000, one from Robert Smellie QC who gave Labour $50,000. The retired High Court judge has given large donations to the party over the years. 

The Green Party received donations from all eight of its MPs, including James Shaw, Eugenie Sage and Julie Anne Genter who all gave donations more than $28,000. 

The highest donation to the Greens came from late-member Betty Harris whose estate gave the party $486,000. 

National's donations came from a range of supporters, including the managing director of Devi Group, Anurag Rasela, who gave three donations of $596, $312, and $19,000.

Sir Owen Glenn also gave a $25,000 donation to National, as did RCL Henley Downs Ltd, and Graham Drummon who gave an additional $500. 

2018 political donations

  • National - $741,915
  • Greens - $603,730
  • Labour - $173,000
  • ACT - $145,072
  • TOP - $87,843
  • NZ First - $87,689
  • New Conservative - $20,028
  • Māori - $2000

National has faced controversy ever since former National MP Jami-Lee Ross made a complaint to police about the party's donations, which has since been referred to the Serious Fraud Office. 

Ross alleged last year that National leader Simon Bridges had committed electoral fraud by asking him to split up a $100,000 donation from businessman Zhang Yikun into smaller amounts, so they could be hidden from the Electoral Commission.

He said the funds, before they entered National Party accounts, arrived in amounts smaller than the $15,000 disclosure threshold, sparking a police investigation. 

Ross, the now-Independent MP for Botany, has raised concerns about overseas actors influencing local body elections through donations. He has proposed changes to the Local Electoral Act 2001 to put a limit on the amount of donations from overseas.

Political parties are currently required to report on every donation over $15,000 and the contributor, every anonymous donation over $1500, every overseas donation over $1500, and every contribution from an overseas person over $1500.


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