Who’s paying big money for big political favours?


The incompetence of the Serious Fraud Office is breath-taking.

Faced with a simple case of electoral donation abuses by the New Zealand First Foundation, the SFO prosecuted foundation officials under the Crimes Act with charges designed to catch fraud and theft for personal gain. But there was no personal gain – just a brazen abuse of our electoral laws which require political parties to inform us when big donors provide political donations.

The New Zealand First Foundation were not operating a criminal ring to steal money donated to a political party – they were operating a deliberate, savage attack on our democracy by protecting their big donors from being publicly identified.

The SFO prosecution of the New Zealand First Foundation failed on Friday.

Big political party donors typically don’t want to be identified and the New Zealand First Foundation skirted electoral law to protect their identity. When big figures in the racing and fishing industries and people who don’t want a Capital Gains Tax are digging deep into their pockets for New Zealand First then we need to know – in fact we have a right to know. When there are close connections between donations and policy implementations there is an even greater imperative for us to know.

- Sponsor Promotion -

New Zealand First didn’t tell us and the SFO failed to protect our democratic right to know.

The SFO stuffed it up. It was so incompetent it almost looks as though the SFO are running a protection racket for those abusing our electoral laws.

It refused to prosecute another blatant abuse of democracy by Christchurch Mayoral candidate Lianne Dalziel after the 2019 local body election when Dalziel was exposed as filing a false electoral expenses return which didn’t identity the biggest donors to her election campaign.

Dalziel should have been required to put forward her flimsy defence in court (“my husband was to blame”) and been subjected to cross-examination but the SFO weren’t interested.

Our electoral laws are a shambles – designed to look reasonable but open to frequent and systematic abuse by our main political parties (National and Labour are also before the courts for electoral law breaches) It is in their interests to provide a wide range of loopholes to protect their biggest donors from being identified.

These loopholes are big enough for the political party busses from New Zealand First, National and Labour to drive through them without touching the sides – and without anyone knowing.

Labour’s proposed electoral law changes are weak and pathetic and should be abandoned.

This whole question of political party donations must come out of parliament and be decided through an independent inquiry. We can’t trust party politicians or government officials to protect democracy from big business influence. Just last week the Justice Department said it would not be making the Labour Party submission to its proposed electoral law changes public (National agreed for their submission to be made public) but it would release submissions from other groups and individuals. Outrageous. Just who is protecting who here?

We have no idea who is paying big money for big political favours via our political parties. It’s time we did.


  1. Our electoral laws are toothless to the point that they can be broken with impunity. Be it advertising meetings or welcoming New Year in full party hoardings outside of election time frames to dodgy donations, all offenders are safe. Maybe that is why they went the Crimes Act route?

    Interestingly I read that Siouxsie Wiles who has been the subject of some negative campaign by NZME in respect of the $20k NZ OnAir funding found that NZME had been on the receiving end of $8.5 million for Covid funding, has never paid it back and made an increased profit accordingly. Hypocrisy, yes, it stinks, definitely but does all this public generosity gifted to the most influential media outlet in Auckland possibly the country benefit Labour? Yep. Does it tame any head winds questioning them. Hard not to conclude that.

    There’s many ways of rorting the system. NZ First was just more blatant!

    • I heard on Media Watch last night about the beat up over the Siouxsie Wiles money. In fact it was never ever $20,000 what is more NZME knew about this a long time ago. The money was for loading docs. and it was about $5000. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. Still what do you expect from ‘munchie’ radio and the Herald.

  2. I mostly agree, John, but it would be naive to think that regulating direct political party donations would solve our corruption problems. Rick p***ks might have to pay small parties NZF up front, but your John Keys and David Cunliffes can count on getting paid later for their services.

    • Yes so true.

      But then frankly they all get paid later with nice jobs – that fool who was the speaker on the highest salary of anyone in The House gets given a top job. And of course the Louisa Wall with her job in the pacific, offered before she came into parliament this time so they could get rid of her.

      Well past time that politicians get plum jobs that are government funded.

  3. who?
    everyone who has money and interests that they want to promote

    who takes that money?
    politicians of all colors, creeds n stripes, or their ‘feeder’ NGO and ‘lobbyists’ associated with this or that party

    will anyone change anything?
    no, signed, our political bullshitter class.

  4. Just imagine living in the US where a successful campaign can range in the billions.
    Our system is corrupt as fuck on both sides but nothing as bad as the yanks.

  5. Mr Minto has got to the core of this situation in mere a few paragraphs, unlike the thousands of words expended by the msm since the NZ First Foundation story became public several years back. The SFO was the wrong authority using the wrong legal framing to ever identify the actual problem here–namely, ANONYMITY for undue influence on NZ’s political process and outcomes by arseholes with deep pockets.

    From National’s hidden trusts to Brethren and Destiny interference to dirty social media campaigns and paid tory mouths for hire on ZB, the average voter is up against a very powerful right wing filth pump on turbo boost.

    • Add in the National Party’s NZ Herald and the donors backing the propaganda their paper espouses, it’s hardly surprising N.Z. has such a biased right wing media. Hard not to conclude that.

    • hahahahahah, never mind the 55 million for the msm by the labour held government. 🙂
      filth is everywhere, and all of our ‘representatives’ would like a bucket or two of it in their own names.

      • Bahahahahahaha! Clearly that 55 million had no effect, we still have the bias of NZ Herald and Hosking right wing radio. Perhaps it’s the millions behind the scene the right are donating to said media.

        • Bias? What about the bias of RNZ and The Spinoff? The right wing media don’t get government hand outs. How blind can you be?

    • yep when half the world’s money is tied up in hidden trusts controlled by ‘economists’ and ‘accountants’ and spinners of bullshit, God knows who they work for, some fellowship with the victorian values of a character straight out of a Dickens novel. http://mileswmathis.com/dickens.pdf

  6. John
    Who’s paying big money for big political favours? How about discussing the 55 million Labour pays to all those various media (not TDB!). Under ‘General Eligibility Criteria’ is a Te Tiriti Framework for News Media which references He Puapua as an authoritative document. Talk about political favours…and that’s not even private money involved. It’s your and my money.

    • @ Sour Kraut? And Simon O’Connor – ex John Key acolyte – is now the CEO of TVNZ?

      John Campbell – gone. John Key “I want that left wing bastard gone!” https://thestandard.org.nz/i-want-that-left-wing-bastard-gone/
      John Campbell – gone!

      James Shaw – Breathless news orgasms over James Shaw co-leader vote, for the last 3 nights.
      Another popular ‘left-wing bastard’, nobbling favour for the right wing against the left?

      Matthew Tukaki – scandal leading the One Network News? – this has gone pretty quiet lately? Any reasons why?

      The rise of Winston? Latest poll results!

      May as well call One Network News, One Fox News FFS? Who’s

      More ‘lies’ will follow, to undermine the left in the lead-up to 2023.

      John Key had 435 lies, and I wonder if Luxon, O’Connor and the right-wing may aim to beat Key’s record lie-count! https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/06/04/435-lies-by-john-key/

      How many paid, or unpaid, or nudge-nudge-wink-wink-say-no-more favours are at all parts sides of the political spectrum.

      ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive’ means that when you lie or act dishonestly you are initiating problems and a domino structure of complications which eventually run out of control.

      The quote is from Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field.

      How’s dirty politics going for the National Party Sour Kraut? The Hollow Men, and Blue Blood working out for the National Party? Just a bunch of corrupt, rich syrupers, whose greed and filth beget everything they deserve!

  7. Seems like the developers, transport, fisheries, supermarkets and local and foreign lobbyists OWN our government and government agencies.

    Most of NZ’s failing policy seems to be heavily influenced by certain bloated and dysfunctional industries, thus the rise in corporate welfare.

    Just look at Talleys.

    “Talley’s has donated to political campaigns in the past. When NZ First candidate Shane Jones was a Labour MP he declared donations of $10,000 apiece from Sealord and Talley’s. The Sunday Star-Times understands Talley’s is also helping fund Jones’ Whangarei campaign for NZ First.

    During the 2014 election candidate donations shows Talley’s contributed $42,500 to the campaigns of nine candidates (mostly National) standing for regional seats.

    Three of these – Chester Borrows, Stuart Smith and Damien O’Connor (the only Labour recipient) – are members of Parliament’s Primary Industries Select Committee. Each received $5000.”

    • $5000 is NOTHING to those interests. They pay that much for an evening out. The amounts NF First Foundation received (if they did — not proven,remember!) are peanuts. That’s not to say that the electoral donations law/regulations don’t need fixing; John Minto is quite right to say they do.

  8. NZ political parties should not be allowed to take any donations or do any fund raising, they should get a set amount from the taxpayer for marketing and keep it about policy not spin and make the MP’s themselves pay 10% of their salaries to the party as a donation, which used to be a Green Party initiative.

    Likewise no public servant should earn more than the PM, thus water care and the alarming amounts of CEO’s in NZ working supposedly for taxpayers on $650,000 p/a plus, should by law only be allowed to go up to around $400k.

    The transcripts from the Natz scandal are enlightening how appalling this actually is.

    Attack Adds.

    “I say we want to do some more attack ads – say we want to do another regional fuel one, say we want to do an industrial relations one. We just want to keep doing those things, right?”

    Race and donation influenced list MP seats.

    “SB: I mean, it’s like all these things, it’s bloody hard, you’ve only got so much space. Depends where we’re polling, you know? All that sort of thing. Two Chinese would be nice, but would it be one Chinese or one Filipino, or one – what do we do?

    JLR: Two Chinese would be more valuable than two Indians, I have to say.

    SB: Which is what we’ve got at the moment, right? Your problem there is you end up in a shit fight because you’ve got a list MP – you’ve got two list MPs – it’s a pretty mercenary cull – sitting MPs, all that shit. And then we’ve got the issue of – we could end up getting rid of some list MPs if we want and bringing in some of those new ones, and if you do that you’re just filling up your list even further with ones that you’ve gotta sort of look after – I mean I reckon there’s two or three of our MPs, not picking up obvious ones like Finlayson or Carter, but actually we just want them to go. You know? Like Maureen Pugh is fucking useless.”

    • @savenz I was looking for this very interchange of dirty politics to post for Sour Kraut but couldn’t remember the search criteria, so thanks for your post. I need to get a copy of Andrea Vance’s Blue blood to put on my shelf next to “The Hollow Men”

  9. “Who’s paying big money for big political favours?”
    Perhaps this fucker is?
    peter thiel. Paid $10million to a cadre of political Kiwi traitors, got AO/NZ citizenship.
    I don’t care who you are or what your political, or other, beliefs are, but you must read this and be very afraid.
    “Revealing Peter Thiel essay on his anti-democratic beliefs”
    “On his essay site, Unpopular Front, writer John Ganz argues that tech billionaire, venture capitalist, and radical libertarian, Peter Thiel, is not as complicated and enigmatic as he’s often made out to be. According to Gantz, he’s a straight-up fascist.”
    “He’s obsessed with romanticized fantasies of absolute power, domination, and control. He dreams of wielding the the national security state against enemies both foreign and domestic. ”
    I bet larry ‘Fly over the mere mortals in my personal jet’ page is in there too.
    We have to be very, very afraid of losing *our country to the hyper rich with nowhere else to run. Sure, they spurt into space in cock rockets but that’s just the common or garden ego usually found drunk and asleep in the garden at the dinner party because no class dahlings . But do you know what they find when they get out there? Out into space. Nothing. Not even fuck all. I went to a lecture given by an astrophysicist recently, Prof Brian Boyle, who made it abundantly clear that there were no other liveable, off-Earth places within a multi billion light year radius of us.
    We are it… and so it’s safe to assume then, that the idiot rich will become ever more dangerous if left unsupervised.
    * @ Maori. Sorry, hardly cuts the mustard does it.
    Re the SFO.
    The Serious Fraud Office does its job very well. It identifies serious fraud then it does its best to help cover it up. Look. winston peters is a lawyer. What do you expect. “They’re using lawyers in lab experiments now instead of rats because there are things even rats won’t do.” ( RIP Robin Williams)
    Remember winston and the wine box inquiry? Citi Bank? The car crash that killed Paul White? You looked into Fletcher Challenge Corp recently? You seen a fantastic free to air series on the making of The God Father titled The Offer? The Rural Bank? The on-going gib board fiasco?
    Our politics and our economics are almost all a tangled web of deceit and thievery spanning generations and as that bitter old wine ages and starts rising in the craw it becomes ever more bitter and unpalatable. One day, and with my help one would hope, it’ll be spewed out all over the Axminster, mother fuckers! The rich crim wish list will be headed up by a desperate attempt to launder their devious and criminal activities by selling our AO/NZ out from under our big, dumb, trusting feet.
    Naturally, I’ve watched and listened to the unfolding news of the day. Covid, climate heating, monkeypox, house prices, environment issues, what leather underwear best matches the butt plug, which genetically modified, gene enhanced AI labrodoodleschpoodle do you think goes best with my new Jimmy Choos? All that shit’s cynically thrown into the garbage mill aka the MSM to do one thing only. To deflect close inspection of real world AO/NZ stuff. Like our future ownership born of the manipulative nouveau riche with more to hide than a naked burglar caught in the act.
    Well done @ J.M.
    When I first started taking an interest in Tumeke those few years ago I used to write about the dreaded scratching at the kitchen door… I used to ask. ” Hear that sound? That terrible scratching… scraping sound? That’s the sound of the truth scratching at the kitchen door. Aye Boys ? “

  10. Too many people on the take and inconsistencies with how government departments are working.

    Cash worker, illegal worker, company has multiple warnings, but somehow the company and people employing him illegally for cash, do not get fined and prosecuted.

    Illegally working overstayer dies on the job – ACC payment made to widow in China

    “The investigation report found Star Echo had three previous interactions with Worksafe NZ with faulty and incomplete scaffolding cited in each instance. The company had received notices compelling improvement from Worksafe NZ but was not prosecuted.

    In this case, there was a recommendation to prosecute the company for removing equipment and tools from the building site before either police or Worksafe NZ arrived in the aftermath of the accident.

    The investigation found Yu was 45 when he died with no visa allowing him to legally work in New Zealand after arriving on a 30-day visitor visa in 2015.

    Du told Worksafe NZ her husband paid $30,000 in China for legal work in New Zealand but realised on arriving here that he had been duped. After paying $1800 to another contact, Yu was connected with the builder who was overseeing work at the Hobsonville site.”

    The NZ message is, hiring illegal workers and killing them, is ok but hiring legal workers and co-operating with work safe will get you prosecuted.

    Meanwhile a similar death, and the company is fined.

    Chch workplace death: ‘They got it horribly wrong’

    Many examples of how worksafe is enabling illegal/cash migrants workers to die in NZ without prosecuting the companies using them, often big, foreign companies like NZ Wastemanagement. The opposite should be happening – IRD, immigration, police and work safe should prosecuted to the highest they can, to end this practise which is so out of control, now nobody wants to work in many of these industries and the outcomes of the work, is often very poor.

  11. Just imagine if NZ First/Winston & Shane had access to $3 Billion to distribute as they saw fit.
    Image what favours a bit of money in the Foundation might buy if they happened to have sort or “fund” available to them!.
    Potential for a banana republic style corruption. Thankfully we have the SFO and astute political partners in Labour to ensure this couldn’t happen…

  12. What about the Russians influence within the Labour party and the Chinese with the National party! What about that!

    There is a lot of money sloshing around everywhere but unfortunately not in the right places like in the building of Social Housing because the current government doesnt build houses! It contracts that out to the private sector and then leases them from the investor/developer owners! Who then clip the IRR ticket!

    So when does this scam end?

    • Or it waits for the private sector to build them.
      Stands in the back of the auction room, with the govt check book, and bids against us; with our taxes.
      Then claim to have built them, all the while driving up prices, fuelling FOMO with their limitless finances, and doing next to nothing actually provide more stock.

  13. For NZF it makes a change from accepting brown paper bags of cash from under the table at the Kermadec restaurant.

  14. as certain donors contribute to both sides it isn’t question of political conviction you can shitcan that lie but a question of expected political favours…an open attempt to subvert democracy.. end of.

Comments are closed.