Jul 23, 2008

Party Funding

This from the Dominion Post

An investigation by The Dominion Post revealed that donations totalling at least $150,000 were made to NZ First from various accounts linked to the Vela family. The donations were all in payments of less than $10,000.
But NZ First sources say nothing like that much Vela money was deposited in the party's bank account.
Mr Peters is also embroiled in controversy over revelations billionaire Owen Glenn paid $100,000 into his legal fund.
Miss Clark said yesterday that the allegations were "serious" but unsubstantiated and she retained confidence in Mr Peters as her foreign affairs minister. "I think it's important to be fair and not rush to judgment."
There were a range of "competent authorities", including the auditor-general, Inland Revenue and police, who could "take up such matters" if they thought it justified. But Miss Clark revived her call for state funding to get rid of corporate donors altogether.
Yesterday Mr Peters dismissed the latest claims and noted the Velas denied giving as much as $150,000. He said the donations were all lawful. "What is the issue? The accounts of NZ First are audited and all money received accounted for."
It was also revealed that his lawyer, Brian Henry, was paid $45,000 out of Parliamentary Service funds for legal services.
Mr Henry confirmed payments from the Parliamentary Service, but none was for Mr Peters' failed court action to overturn the 2005 Tauranga election result. All work paid for from the service was authorised and invoiced.
The Electoral Commission, which polices party funding and spending, said it was not investigating because there was no allegation the law had been breached.