No donation from 'anti-separatist' trust to NZ First but Don Brash not ruling it out

Former National Party leader Don Brash, who is fronting Hobson's Pledge, was impressed with Winston Peters' announcement ...
DEAN KOZANIC/STUFF

Former National Party leader Don Brash, who is fronting Hobson's Pledge, was impressed with Winston Peters' announcement on Sunday to hold a referendum on the Maori seats.

Hobson's Pledge, the anti-separatism campaign fronted by former National leader Don Brash, hasn't donated any money to NZ First, yet.

Brash said he was impressed with NZ First leader Winston Peter's speech at the party convention in Auckland on Sunday but no decisions had been made yet about which political parties would get donations.

"NZ First has had a position on the Treaty (of Waitangi) and the way it should be interpreted, which is very close to ours for a considerable period," he said.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says his party has received no "substantial" donations ahead of the election.
ROBERT STEVEN/STUFF

NZ First leader Winston Peters says his party has received no "substantial" donations ahead of the election.

"They've had a position that is very close to the one we're promoting for quite some time, as indeed National used to have, as indeed did ACT. All three of those parties have had very consistent positions in the past."

READ MORE:
* The Maori seats and their uncertain future
* 'Anti-separatist' campaign launched ahead of election
* Winston Peters: Goodbye Maori seats

Brash is warming to throwing money Peters' way because of his announcement on Sunday for a binding referendum on whether or not to abolish the seven Maori seats.

The referendum would be held mid-term and would also ask the public whether they want to reduce the number of MPs to 100. Peters has more or less made it a bottom line leading into the election on September 23.

Brash said Hobson's Pledge was set up with two objectives - the first to "protest at every opportunity when central or local government was doing things that we believed were totally inconsistent with any reasonable interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi".

The second was to make money available to any political parties that were "committed to moving New Zealand to a colour-blind state after the election," Brash said.

In his speech Peters too referenced a desire to move to a "colour-blind" country.

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Brash confirmed the money available wasn't in the six figures, which is partly why they haven't made any donations yet, because "we don't have so much money that we want to give some of it away".

It was likely the Hobson's Pledge council, made up of 15 people, would make a decision in the next couple of weeks about who to financially prop up.

Brash said he hadn't ever spoken personally with Peters about a donation but he'd been contacted by "one or two people in the party to discuss the issue".

ACT was also potentially in line for a donation with Brash praising leader David Seymour's speech in the third reading of the Resource Management Act (RMA) making it clear "they didn't agree with the racial preference built into that legislation".

But he also revealed he didn't think ACT had been making as big a deal of those issues in the last couple of years as they had in the past.

Peters confirmed no donation had been received from Hobson's Pledge but insisted he kept out of those decisions and wasn't "entitled to know".

"I can't do everything. I'm being asked where our tee-shirts are made - I wouldn't know where the hell our tee-shirts are made. I think to myself, 'what's going on here'."

Peters didn't think Brash would approach him directly if he did want to donate to the party and he wasn't aware that the party had received any "substantial" donations, which he defined as in the six-figures.

The last time the pair spoke in person was in April last year when Brash was in Wellington to make a submission to select committee about the RMA.

He and Peters ran into each other in the street after and had a coffee together.

"I had said to Mr Peters at that meeting that this whole racial separatism issue is the biggest issue facing the Government right now, at which Mr Peters replied, it's the biggest issue facing the country right now," Brash said.

 - Stuff

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