Ex-MP faces police probe into returns

HAMILTON - Police are investigating dumped MP Tukoroirangi Morgan, after he failed to file an electoral return from the November election.

The returning officer for Mr Morgan's Te Tai Hauauru electorate, Ross Shadbolt, confirmed that he had asked Tokoroa police to investigate Mr Morgan and three other candidates who missed a February 19 deadline for filing returns.

The three others were Future New Zealand's Stanley Edmonds, of Taumarunui, Mana Maori Movement's Ken Mair, of Wanganui, and Piri Wiri Tua party's Dalvanius Prime, of Hawera.

Mr Morgan, a former Mauri Pacific MP, yesterday denied the allegation, saying his electorate secretary Howard Metekingi had filed the return last Wednesday.

"I just talked to my electorate secretary last week and he was speaking to Ross Shadbolt that afternoon, so [Mr Shadbolt] has got it."

Mr Metekingi could not be reached for comment, but Mr Shadbolt said: "If they gave it to someone, it wasn't me."

All election candidates are required to file returns detailing their election expenses and the origins of campaign contributions. Candidates can spend a maximum of $20,000 on their campaigns and the penalty for failing to file a return is a $1000 fine.

After the 1996 election, Mr Morgan was also late filing his electoral return. He filed it just hours inside a final deadline.

Mr Morgan's election campaign manager, Taitimu Maipi, said he knew nothing about Mr Morgan's failing to file a return.

"That's the first I've heard of it. It's not something I've been dealing with."

He believed election returns were being handled by Mauri Pacific's head office in Wellington.

Senior Sergeant John Gurr confirmed that the Tokoroa police had received a complaint.

"We will be referring it on to police stations where these people live for the inquiries to be made."

Mr Morgan lost his seat to Labour's Nanaia Mahuta.

- NZPA

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