Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

National Party collects $1.4 million in donations

Stonyridge Vineyard donated a total of $21,720 to the National Party last year. Photo / Chrs Skelton
Stonyridge Vineyard donated a total of $21,720 to the National Party last year. Photo / Chrs Skelton

The National Party collected $1.4 million in donations last year while the Labour Party was languishing with just $279,134.

The donation returns for 2015 have just been released and show National's donors included milk powder manufacturer GMP Dairy which focuses on exports to China.

The dairy company donated $25,338 in five separate donations. Parties must disclose all donations of money, goods or services worth more than $15,000.

Stonyridge Vineyard on Waiheke Island also donated a total of $21,720. Other donors included Auckland real estate giant Garth Barfoot ($25,000), property developer Adrian Burr ($27,350) and National Party member Kit Parkinson ($17,044) all of whom are known National supporters. Mr Barfoot and Mr Burr have donated in the past. Christine Che donated $15,800 and Brijesh and Nivedita Sethi, the owners of private training establishment the NZ School of Education, donated $21,900 through their company, Sethi Business Group.

National's tally also includes the previously disclosed $60,000 donation from the Gallagher Group. The party also took in about $1.19 in smaller donations.

National's total is a relatively large amount for a non-election year but about one quarter of the $4 million National collected in 2015.

The returns show Labour is still struggling to fundraise, despite a fundraising drive after the Herald revealed it had run in deficit for the past two years and its cash reserves were eroding.

Labour declared no donations of more than $15,000 and its total of $279,134 came from 50 smaller donations.

It raised less than the Green Party's $408,000. Of the Greens donations, $237,000 came from its own MPs, who are tithed and must hand over a portion of their salary to the party's coffers -- sums that ranged from $17,000 to $20,000. It had no donations of more than $15,000 from non-MP supporters, but raised a further $171,000 in smaller donations.

Labour MPs are also tithed but at a lower level.

The returns also show Kim Dotcom stopped bankrolling his internet Party straight after the election -- it declared only $676.65 in total, which came from 16 separate anonymous donations. Parties can only accept anonymous donations of less than $1500. Hone Harawira's Mana Party did not file its return by the due date.

Act got a total of $162,000, including $33,589 from regular donor Dame Jenny Gibbs and $24,448 from party vice-president Heather Anderson.

NZ First declared a total of $79,620 all of which was in small donations.

The Conservative Party declared a total of $39,460 plus a loan of $99,000 from former leader Colin Craig which Craig has since written off. The Maori Party disclosed $28,000, all in small donations.

Donations of goods, services and cash must be disclosed. All donations of more than $15,000 have to be publicly disclosed in the annual returns, while those of more than $30,000 must be disclosed within 10 working days of receipt.

- NZ Herald

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