Māori Party referred to police over delay in declaring more than $300,000 of donations

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

The Māori Party has been referred to the police over more than $300,000 worth of undeclared donations. 

The party announced its candidate in what was the closest fought Maori seat, Te Tai Hauāuru, at the AGM near Whanganui today.

The Electoral Commission released a statement last week stating it referred the party donations to police for "further investigation relating to failure to declare donations or aggregated donations over $30,000 made to the Māori Party, within 10 working days".

The donations were made last year but were not declared until this year. 

The party's former co-leader and interim chief of staff, John Tamihere, made $158,223.72 worth of donations between March and October 2020. This was announced on April 1. 

The National Urban Māori Authority made donations totalling $48,879.85 between May and September, and it was declared by the party also on April 1. 

The Aotearoa Te Kahu Limited Partnership made one donation of $120,000 on July 2, 2020 and it was not declared until March 22 this year. 

Police told 1 NEWS it "received the referrals and the matters are currently being assessed".

Māori Party President Che Wilson said they were all "volunteers" and "rookies", and thought as many of the donations were smaller donations they did not have to be declared. 

He said they did declare the donations once they realised they needed to. 

The National Party also filed a late donation from Garth Barfoot of $35,000. 

A National Party spokesperson said the party keeps in regular contact with the Electoral Commission, "particularly in regard to supplying information and explanations on the disclosure of donations".