National Party facing another leadership contest rumour as Judith Collins seeks answers to party's donations debacle

The National Party is still not facing any consequences for failing to disclose donations in time despite the Māori Party being referred to the police for the same offence.

The Māori Party failed to disclose three donations from 2020 within the 10 working days required by the Electoral Commission, and now, the matter has been referred to police. The donations include $158,000 from former Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere, $120,000 from company Aotearoa Te Kahu, and $49,000 from the National Urban Māori Authority (NUMA).

Tamihere played off the donation declaration as not a big deal.

"They've been declared, thank you," Tamihere says.

When asked if he'd met with the Electoral Commission, he said: "I can't, I'm not part of the party."

Whānau Ora is a provider for NUMA, but Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare isn't rushing to find out if government money was used to fund a political party.

"We'll just wait for the police investigation and we'll go from there," he says.

"Like I said, all the reports I've received on the money that's been spent and the outcomes that have been achieved have been on the money."

There is very little public information on who is behind the donation from Aotearoa Te Kahu.

National Party leader Judith Collins is facing a donations debacle of her own. National failed to declare donations from real estate mogul Garth Barfoot in time - it took them five months too.

"I'm not involved in any of the donations," Collins says. "You'll need to put that to the party."

National Party president Peter Goodfellow didn't answer questions.

"I'm really not going to go into detail of that."

It isn't the only thing National is trying to shut down, there are rumours of a Simon Bridges and Christopher Luxon leadership ticket.

"It's nothing more than whispers and I also know that the caucus is fully behind me," Collins says.

A grinning Bridges pouring lukewarm water on the whispers.

"It's all just chatter, it's all just rumour and speculation and I support Judith Collins at this time," he says.

He's also coy over whether he's discussed a run with Luxon.

"I talk to lots of colleagues. I can't be expected to remember everything I say."

Collins may be right, these may be just whispers, but it doesn't take long for whispers to become murmurs and murmurs to become shouts. That's what saw Bridges get rolled last year, and the way he's talking, season two of the 'Bridges Show' might not be off the cards.