National received nearly $ 3 million in major political donations in 2020 – nearly double the work

National leader Judith Collins’ party received the highest amount of political donations at just over $ 2.8 million. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The National Party received nearly $ 3 million in major donations in 2020 – nearly double the amount given to Labor.

The Election Commission today released the full list of major donations made to political parties for the calendar year 2020.

Political parties do not have to disclose the amount they receive in small donations under $ 1,500.

He leads National with just over $ 2.8 million with the job in second at just over $ 1.5 million.

That was, however, a drop for National from the previous election year, 2017, when he made more than $ 4.6 million while running for a fourth term in government.

Labor has only slightly decreased in donations compared to 2017, when it received $ 1.6 million.

The Act Party received the third highest amount in 2020, with just over $ 1.2 million, which is 50% more than in 2017, when it collected just over $ 800,000.

The Green Party recorded the fourth highest donation in 2020 with just under $ 860,000.

The Maori Party received just under $ 390,000.

Donations over $ 30,000 must be disclosed within 10 business days of receipt, and parties cannot accept anonymous donations over $ 1,500 or overseas donations over $ 50.

National donors

National’s $ 2.8 million for the election year was far lower than in 2017, when he campaigned under Bill English, was high in the polls and in government.

The appetite for donations has likely been affected by Covid-19, as well as problems with party leadership and Labor dominance in polls throughout the election year.

Its total included donations from party chairman Peter Goodfellow ($ 20,000) and Todd Corporation president and Wellington Phoenix owner Henry Tait ($ 15,450).

Others included Naomi Ballantyne ($ 20,600), Gallagher Group ($ 29,789), Seung Gi Rhi ($ 18,000), Phillippa Williams ($ 16,310), Frances Wyborn ($ 16,831), hotelier Christopher Parkin ($ 20,999), Clean as a Whistle Ltd ($ 17,000), rich-list Peter Huljich ($ 20,831) and Douglas Pharmaceuticals director Jeffrey Douglas ($ 16,450).

Larger donations from Garth Barfoot and Doug Catley had already been disclosed as they exceeded $ 30,000. The party recently received a warning from the Election Commission for belatedly disclosing Barfoot’s donation.

National’s total of $ 2.8 million was mostly made up of donations of less than $ 15,000 ($ 2,384,000).

He did not report any anonymous donations, but said $ 71,800 in donation protected against disclosure: a mechanism that allows donors to give money to the party through the Election Commission without their identity being disclosed to the party or publicly.

Labor has not used this mechanism at all.

Labor donors

Of Labor’s $ 1.5 million, $ 731,000 came from donations below $ 15,000 and $ 770,000 came from donations above that figure.

The largest donor was the New Zealand Dairy Workers Union, which donated $ 90,000.

A number of other unions, such as the Maritime Union, the Railway Union and Etu, have all donated to Labor, $ 40,000, $ 40,200 and $ 20,000 respectively.

And, among the big donors is Prime Minister and Labor leader Jacinda Ardern, who has donated $ 17,000 to her party.

Donations are listed as being paid fortnightly throughout the year and are likely to have been paid through party tithe.

Kelvin Davis, who is Senior Minister and Deputy Chief of Labor, is also on the list and has donated just over $ 15,000 in the year 2020.

Other Labor MPs are likely to have made bimonthly donations to the party as well.

However, donations of less than $ 15,000 are anonymous and therefore would not have appeared on the list.

Former Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer is also on the list, who donated just over $ 15,000 to the party in June of last year.

NZ First donors

New Zealand First – which was kicked out of Parliament in the election because it did not get enough votes – received $ 514,000 in donations.

Of the donations over $ 15,000 – which must be disclosed – most were made through holding companies.

Caniwi Management Limited, which, according to Companies Office records, is owned by Rich Lister Troy Bowker, valued at $ 84 million, has donated nearly $ 30,000 to NZ First.

The party also received a donation of $ 20,000 from GRL Holdings, which is owned by another wealthy Greg Loveridge.

GRL Holdings also donated $ 25,000 to the Labor Party.

Most of New Zealand First’s donations, some $ 385,000, came from donations under $ 15,000, meaning the identity of the donor does not have to be disclosed.

Small parties

The majority of Green Party donations came from their own MPs. The party has a policy which means that it must pay part of its salaries into the party coffers.

The largest donations were two individual donations of $ 50,000 from Phillip Mills of Auckland and Peter Kraus of Kerikeri.

All donations to the Maori party exceeded $ 30,000, which means they have already been declared.

They include $ 50,000 from the Whanganui Regional Development Board Trust, $ 49,000 from the National Urban Māori Authority, $ 158,000 from John Tamihere and $ 120,000 from Aotearoa Te Kahu Limited Partnership.

The latter three were not reported until well after the legally required 10 working days and were first referred to the police “for further investigation”.

Police have since returned the donations to the Serious Fraud Office for review.

Parties outside Parliament

Advance NZ received just over $ 250,000 and the New Conservative Party just under $ 200,000.

Under election laws, only donors who give more than $ 15,000 per year must be publicly disclosed.