Another NZ First donation questioned

Last updated 01:04 31/07/2008

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More questions have been raised about donations to NZ First over a $20,000 deposit to the party's bank account that does not appear on its register of declared donations.

The Dominion Post has obtained a deposit slip showing $19,998 was deposited in one or more cheques into the party's coffers in December 1999. The donation, banked into the party's Westpac account, fuels the issue of big-business donations to NZ First - a party that has proclaimed that it does not take money from big-business donors.

Electoral Commission records for 1999 show that NZ First did not declare any donations of more than $10,000 - the threshold requiring such a donation to be reported.

Contacted for comment yesterday, the party leader, Winston Peters, said: "Phil, I told you I'm not talking to a lying wanker like you. See you." He then hung up.

The latest in the donation saga casts more doubt on the credibility of NZ First and its leader after Mr Peters' repeated previous attacks on big-business donations to other political parties - and their use of trusts to filter donations.

On February 28, Mr Peters said his party had never accepted money from big business.

On May 22, 2003, he called for the Serious Fraud Office to investigate a donation to the National Party because he claimed the party had failed to disclose the donation.

Now it is Mr Peters who could face an SFO inquiry after ACT leader Rodney Hide laid a complaint about NZ First donations.

The details of the 1999 donation to NZ First will raise even more questions for Mr Peters about his party's handling of political donations.

In 1999, ACT, National, Labour and the Greens all declared their parties received anonymous donations of at least $20,000.

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- The Dominion Post

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