Police refer Māori Party to Serious Fraud Office over donations

Newshub has learned police have referred the Māori Party to the Serious Fraud Office after it failed to declare hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations on time.

All political donations above $30,000 must be declared to the Electoral Commission within 10 working days, but the Māori Party failed to do so with three large donations made between March and October.

Former Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere donated over $158,000 between March and October last year.

The Urban Māori Authority donated over $48,879 between May and September 2020 and $120,000 was donated by Aotearoa Te Kahu Limited Partnership in July.

Newshub asked Tamihere earlier this month why he didn't follow the law.

He replied: "Because I'm not as perfect as you."

The Māori Party says the late declaration of donations was a mistake. It's now up to the Serious Fraud Office to decide. 

The National Party has gotten off with a warning from the Electoral Commission, after it failed to declare $35,000 in donations from businessman Garth Barfoot on time. 

The Electoral Commission revealed earlier this month a second referral to police from another party - a candidate who allegedly failed to disclose donations. 

It wouldn't disclose who it was - but he did it himself in a Facebook video: Billy Te Kahika, who co-led Advance NZ. 

Police confirmed to Newshub that matter is still being assessed.