National MP David MacLeod stood down after failing to declare election donations

National MP David MacLeod has been stood down from his Select Committee roles after failing to declare 19 candidate donations. 

MacLeod, the MP for New Plymouth, has been relieved of his duties on both the Environment and Finance and Expenditure Select Committees, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced on Tuesday. 

"We are taking the matter very seriously. It is imperative that all National Party MPs comply with the law and meet our high expectations," Luxon said. 

"David has failed to meet the high standards we expect of our MPs." 

The error was picked by National last week during the party's annual consolidation of accounts. The party said MacLeod immediately conducted a full audit of his 2022 and 2023 expenses and donations. 

MacLeod received 18 candidate donations worth $168,335 in 2022 when he first became the National Party candidate. MacLeod was also made aware during an audit of one donation of $10,000 in 2023 which had not been disclosed to the National Party and therefore was not included on the 2023 return. 

His new return declares $207,662 in candidate donations. The original return included $29,268.  

The audit also picked up a $59 discrepancy in one of the donations in 2023 which has also been corrected. 

MacLeod said the error was "inadvertent" and he had mistakenly thought the return was for 2023 only, and the 2022 donations had been filed. 

"Clearly, I was wrong," MacLeod said. "I am extremely disappointed in myself for making this error." 

David MacLeod spoke to media on Tuesday morning.
David MacLeod spoke to media on Tuesday morning. Photo credit: Newshub.

MacLeod has filed a new return of electorate candidate donations, expenses and loans for the 2023 general election with the Electoral Commission. 

"Because of a misunderstanding that the return was for 2023 only, both the information supplied to the party for my return and my completed return to the Electoral Commission did not include the 2022 donations," MacLeod said. 

"I signed the return believing it was only meant to cover the 2023 year. This was my mistake and I apologise." 

Luxon told media National has strong processes and communication with candidates around donations. He added the Party is all made aware of the election rules.

"He stuffed it up big time and he takes full responsibility for that," Luxon said.

MacLeod, who entered Parliament after the 2023 election, apologised to his constituents, the National Party and the New Zealand public. 

"I entered politics to represent my community and make the country a better place and I am still committed to that."