Winston Peters 'welcomes' Electoral Commission's referral to police

New Zealand First leader Winston Peter says he welcomes the Electoral Commission's decision to refer his party's donations to the police.

"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," he said in a statement on Monday.

"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."

The Electoral Commission issued a statement on Monday confirming that enquiries had been made into allegations the New Zealand First Party tried to hide donations through the New Zealand First Foundation.

"Based on the information available, we have formed the view that the New Zealand First Foundation has received donations which should have been treated as party donations for the New Zealand First Party," the commission said.

"In the commission's view, the donations were not properly transmitted to the party and not disclosed as required by the Electoral Act 1993."

The Electoral Commission does not have the investigative powers to determine whether offences have been committed so the matter has been referred to the police.

The commission said the police will "have the necessary powers to investigate the knowledge and intent of those involved in fundraising, donating, and reporting donations".

A police spokesperson said it has assessed the file and the matter has now been referred to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Peters says New Zealand First 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," Peters said.

"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."