National’s fund-raising at Antoine’s – was GST paid?



Key not talking about fundraising dinner


On TV3’s The Nation, Key steadfastly refused to make public  the names of donors to various fund-raising events (or pay back) at Antoine’s restaurant in Parnell, Auckland.

Instead of using a Trust, where the names of donors are kept hidden, in this case Antoine’s Restaurant – whose owner is a well-known National Party supporter, Tony Astle – was the “bag man” who took the money; banked it; and then passed it on to the National Party as a donation. These donations were recorded with the Electoral Commission for 2010*and 2011*.

However – and here’s an interesting questing question that few (if any) have asked; was GST paid  by Mr Astle on any of the monies ($60,000 and $105,000) received in payment for the meals?

A donation made directly to a political Party does not incur GST. But  Inland Revenue (IRD) is quite clear of what constitutes a donation;

A donation is an unconditional gift only if the giver receives nothing in return.

But these monies were received from people attending the dinner and who paid for their meals accordingly. They received a ‘goods’ and ‘service’ in return for payment.

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It is no longer an “unconditional gift”.

So those meals should have incurred GST.

(What Mr Astle then does with those monies, excluding GST,  is his business, and he subsequently gifted it to the National Party as a donation.)

Accordingly, I have made an inquiry with Inland Revenue on this matter;


Inland Revenue - Te Tari Taake.

Information about a business

Business or trade name: Antoine’s Restaurant
Business IRD/GST number: Not provided
Address – business: Street: 333 Parnell Road
Suburb, city or town: Parnell, Auckland
Phone number: (09) 379 8756
Mobile number: Not provided
Description of the business: restaurant
Provide your detailed information:

Kia ora Mr Taxman, It has recently been revealed in the media that Antoine’s Restaurant in Parnell, Auckland, hosted a series of fund-raising dinners on behalf of the National Party.

One dinner event, in 2010, was attended by 21 people, where each person paid $5,000 to participate in the meal. The restaurant collected $105,000 from attendees.

Another event, in 2010, a sum of $60,000 was paid to the restaurant for a similar event. Considering that the monies paid was for a meal; paid to Antoine’s directly; this appears to have been a good and service provided to paying members of the public.

Was GST paid on these transactions?


-Frank Macskasy


You’ve successfully submitted your information.

Your information was received on Sunday, 9 March 2014 2:24:30 PM NZDT. This form is now completed.

Your reference number is: 208194.

It remains to be seen if Mr Astle paid GST on payments received for those meals. If 21 people paid $5,000 each, that comes to $105,000.

GST on that sum (in 2010), at 12.5%, would have amounted to $13,125.

Yet, the Donations Return for 2010 clearly shows that the full amount of $105,000 was transferred from Antoine’s/Astle to the National Party. No deduction has been made for GST.




* Interesting Note:

The 2011 Party Donations Return for National also includes two payment by Oravida;


Antoines Oravida donations 2011


This is the same Oravida that National Minister, Judith Collins, recently visited in China – and of which her husband is a Director. Other donors on this Return also have links to Oravida.

The 2010 National_Party_donations Return also included a donation by one, Susan Chou, who is also connected to Oravida,


Susan Chou donation 2010


When it comes to ‘tricky’ – National excels with undisputed mastery of Big Time Tricky.





TV3: Key not talking about fundraising dinner

NBR:  Key under fire for Antoine’s donations

Electoral Commission:  New Zealand National Party donations 2011.pdf

Electoral Commission: National_Party_donations_2010.pdf

IRD: Business income tax

TVNZ:  Judith Collins defiant amid claims of conflict of interest

Previous related blogposts

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)




John Key - merril lynch

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen



= fs =


  1. Excellent work Frank. In a better world you would be part of a msm that kept politicians accountable.

    One could imagine they all ate Astle’s tripe and onions in Parnhell.

  2. Quote from Adam Bennett in the NZ Herald, Friday 20th of August 2010 regarding the donation from Antoines Restaurant for $105000

    “Antoine’s owner, Tony Astle, has been reported as saying he donated the money because he “loved” Mr Key, who was a longstanding customer at his restaurant.”

    Must be a an absolute gold mine that restaurant and theres not much interpretation needed here, Mr Astle loved Mr Key and so he “donated” the money.

    • That is inconsistent with the donation being recorded as aggregated. It either was a donation from Tony Astle or it wasn’t. It can’t be both.

  3. risildowgtn – that was very interesting. Thank you for that. I think that may be the genesis of a future blog post.

    Tiger Mountain – Thanks for that. A part of the MSM? Maybe it’s time for a career change…? 😉

    • hey Frank, this IS a great post…sometimes for me they are tl;dr because I have a short attention span and I’m probably not the only person who tends to go for the pictorials simply because a picture’s worth a thousand words…but this one is funny, ballsy, informative and pictorial… I agree with Tiger Mountain – Great stuff!

    • “Brilliant post, lets see them try worm their way out of this restaurant “donation” scam!”

      It isn’t a scam. Many if not all parties have fundraising dinners.

      • “Many if not all parties have fundraising dinners”

        Funny that Tony of Antoine’s Restaurant doesn’t see it that way. You see it was all done for ‘love’!

  4. I thought restaurants were finding it tough going these days, obviously this one is doing pretty good. Must be offering “Cordon Blue” (bleu) dining. Just remember that when you tip the waiter you are actually donating to the National Party. Of course it is tax deductable if it is a business dinner so it will actually cost them sod all.

  5. Excuse me, but apart from not handing over the GST from the $105,000, shouldn’t the remaining $91,304.35 have been treated as Antoine’s business income and taxed accordingly? Businesses pay tax on their profits too, you know.

    Once that is dealt with, then what Mr Astle / Antoine’s do with the monies, really is their business.

    I’m sure the IRD are sharp enough to work this out for themselves, without another dob-in being required.

  6. Great work as usual Frank – now I’m curious though, why a certain Ms Chou was moved to donate $200 000 to the Gnats. I’ll bet there’s a story there…

  7. Isn’t it the case that for ‘donations’ received for ‘goods and services’ then the tax is only applicable on the actual value of the item bought? For example, if I buy a bottle of wine signed by David Cunliffe for $100, the tax liability only applies for the original value of the bottle of wine, not what I chose to pay for it, the difference between the two being considered a ‘donation’ and not liable for tax?

    Not wanting to make the case that everything here is legit (I have no idea if it is or not), but I don’t think the GST element is the problem, so long as it was paid on the value of the meal at normal. I’d have thought the Nats would have plenty of accountants who would be very good at making sure the letter of the tax law is adhered to…

  8. Isn’t it the case that for ‘donations’ received for ‘goods and services’ then the tax is only applicable on the actual value of the item bought? For example, if I buy a bottle of wine signed by David Cunliffe for $100, the tax liability only applies for the original value of the bottle of wine, not what I chose to pay for it, the difference between the two being considered a ‘donation’ and not liable for tax?

    No, that’s not hoe GST works, Sam. It’s actually a fairly simple tax, paid on the overall amount charged for a good or service, not any perceived “value”.

    Whether you pay $5 or $5,000 for a meal, you pay 15% on it. (Or 12.5%, back in 2010 and 2011.)

    GST couldn’t work if if was applied based on a subjective “value”. (Who decides “value”, would be the first question that springs to mind.)

Comments are closed.