The law covering political donations is set for an overhaul, with the Government quietly releasing proposals for change last week.
In October, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi announced a review of electoral laws including voting age, the three-year term, party funding and the "coat-tailing" rule; he also flagged some "targeted" rule changes, which included transparency around political donations, to be brought in ahead of the 2023 election.
There are cases related to political donations and Serious Fraud Office charges, connected to Labour, National and New Zealand First, currently before the courts.
The Justice Ministry proposal says "recent incidents involving donations to political parties or candidates have raised public concerns about the level of transparency in, and complexity of, our donations regime".
"Each incident has been different in nature and this suggests there may be a number of vulnerabilities in the current settings that warrant further attention," it concludes.
A number of proposals are now out for public feedback.
One major change would be to lower the threshold at which political parties have to disclose the identity of donors from $15,000 to $1500 - to bring it into line with the regime for individual candidates.
Others include increasing the frequency of parties' reporting of donations, requiring the disclosure of the "volume and total dollar amount" of donations under $1500, and a requirement for candidates to disclose any loans.
Also under consideration is a "ban on anonymous donations". The proposal says this is "often raised in the public debate around the transparency of political donations because it seems counter-intuitive to be able to donate anonymously in a system that aims to promote transparency and openness".
A ban could "be a significant and principled shift towards transparency", but on the flip side it notes the "need to protect donor privacy in respect of political affiliations (consistent with the secrecy of the ballot) and the potential dampening effect a ban could have on donor participation for those who value anonymity above this form of political participation".
ACT leader David Seymour says a law change will not solve the problem of politicians trying to game the system.
"If people think it's a problem that people who break the law are being taken to court, then they don't understand what it is for a law to not be working," Seymour says.
"The law is working - that's why people are being prosecuted... we aren't talking about changing the laws around murder because people have been charged with it."
He has accused Labour of seeking to use its "own political advantage so it can replace the system with taxpayer funding", which he says could also make it harder for parties like his to raise money through donations.
That was "obviously not the case", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, because all parties "operate on political donations".
"We all do, it's the nature of our system, so I think we've all got the same issues at stake, but equally I would have thought that we all have the same interest in ensuring people have trust and confidence in it."
The Government had not reached a "final position", she says, but is "genuinely interested in what we can do to really shore up people's trust in the democracy" and wants to hear the view of the public.