National given warning over failure to declare $35,000 donation within timeframe

Source: 1News

National has been given a warning over its failure to declare a large donation within the 10-day time limit. 

The National Party filed a late aggregated donation from Garth Barfoot totalling $35,000 on March 31, 2021 — when it was supposed to be declared in November last year. 

The Electoral Commission said in a statement that it wrote to National "reinforcing the importance of adhering to the statutory timeframes and noted that an additional step is being taken to strengthen donation notification processes within the party". 

"Since 2011, there have been 11 instances of parties filing a late return for donations over $30,000, including this one. Three were referred to the police and four parties received a warning. In four cases no further action was taken," it stated. 

"In each case the Electoral Commission looks at all the circumstances including the reason for the failure, the amount involved, when it came to light, and the party’s processes for recording donations."

Today, a spokesperson for National said they acknowledged the decision by the Electoral Commission.

"We take our obligations under the Electoral Act seriously and have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again."

The Māori Party was referred to police over more than $300,000 worth of undeclared donations. The donations were made last year but were not declared until this year.