Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Colin Craig pours money into Conservative Party

Colin Craig has poured more money into the Conservative Party. Photo / Nick Reed
Colin Craig has poured more money into the Conservative Party. Photo / Nick Reed

Colin Craig has poured more money into the Conservative Party, including a loan worth $94,000 which he has written off as a donation.

The party declared $130,000 in donations from Mr Craig to the Electoral Commission earlier this month, most of which came from a forgiven loan for election campaign costs in 2014.

The latest donations meant the party's founder has given nearly $180,000 to the party since resigning as leader in June.

Mr Craig denied that his ongoing contributions were a way of maintaining some influence over the party now that he was no longer leader. He said he forgave the large loan so the party was not "beholden to him" at a time when it was searching for a new leader.

The Electoral Commission changed its rules in 2011 to require parties to declare large loans at the time they were received.

The rule change was in response to Mr Craig's $1.9 million loan to the Conservatives ahead of the 2011 election, which he wrote off as a donation after the election.

Mr Craig stepped down as party leader after admitting inappropriate interactions with his former press secretary Rachael McGregor.

He has ruled out making a return as leader until he has resolved several legal battles. One of those cases, a defamation counterclaim made against him by former board member John Stringer, was partly struck out last week.

Mr Craig remains involved in defamation claims against Mr Stringer and blogger Cameron Slater.

- NZ Herald

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