Givealittle not for politicians on the campaign trail

By Zaryd Wilson -
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Horizons Regional Council candidate Nicola Patrick raised about $900 on Givealittle before the site shut the page down due to concerns about an Electoral Act breach. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Horizons Regional Council candidate Nicola Patrick raised about $900 on Givealittle before the site shut the page down due to concerns about an Electoral Act breach. Photo/ Stuart Munro

A Whanganui local body election candidate has learned that anyone hoping to use crowd funding site Givealittle to raise campaign funds this year will have to go elsewhere.

The site, run by the Spark Foundation, cannot be used for election fundraising because the time it takes to pay users does not comply with the Electoral Act.

Horizons Regional Council candidate Nicola Patrick set up a page last week and received $960 in donations before Givealittle shut down the page after receiving legal advice.

The Electoral Act requires any party collecting funds on behalf of a candidate to hand over the money within 10 days.

Givealittle only pays out once a month.

Patrick will still be paid the money that had already been donated by 18 people.

She said it was disappointing because it was an effective fundraising tool.

"I knew other people who did it last election. It's not like I came up with a great idea and did it," she said.

"I guess it's just about transparency [but] it's just a pity to lose the ease of Givealittle.

"I don't blame them but they are following the letter of the law."

Patrick said fundraising was vital for some candidates and helped broaden the field in elections.

Givealittle chief giving officer Tom Beyer said the site's donation and payment processes are not compliant with the Electoral Act 1993 and the Local Electoral Act.

"Under the Acts Givealittle would be considered the transmitter of funds, which means we need to comply with a number of regulations," he said.

It had received legal advice regarding the matter, Beyer said.

"Unfortunately our current processes aren't compliant so in the interests of ensuring a trusted and safe service for all we can't support this kind of fundraiser."

He said other election campaign pages had been shut down and "we have communicated the reasons this was necessary to the page owners".

Beyer did not rule out changes to its site in the future.

"It is something for consideration for future electoral campaigns but there is not sufficient time to implement these changes for the 2016 local body elections."

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