New Zealand First out of the dog box?
The New Zealand Police have just announced that they will not prosecute New Zealand First’s party secretary for false election returns in 2005 and 2007 because “no offence was committed”. The 2006 return may have also been false, but it is unsure at this stage.
In September leader of the minor party ACT, Rodney Hide, laid a complaint with the police that the electoral returns for 2007 on spending were false.
The main reason the return(s) are false are due to a secret trust called The Spencer Trust which is used to funnel big donations into the coffers of New Zealand First.
The police investigated the claims and today declared that no offence had been committed under the Electoral Act. In a press statement Police said, “Having assessed a range of information from various sources, and having considered the elements of the offence contained in s214G, Police are satisfied that no offence was committed.”
The party secretary can only be charged if they knowingly file a false declaration.
They will not make any further enquirers into what New Zealand First describes as a smear campaign orchestrated by the media, among other groups.
Winston Peters, leader of the embroiled minor party, said that he always knew the allegations made before him were baseless and had expected to have been cleared earlier by the police.
If an offence had occurred, the police would have had to have laid charges by November 18 – the cutoff date for charges to be laid.
Last month, the Serious Fraud Office also found New Zealand First to have not done anything fraudulent. And, despite being cleared by those two separate investigations, the major National Party and minor party the Greens have declared they won’t work alongside Winston Peters.