Developments this week have made me very glad that I'm no longer a political fundraiser. This was a task I undertook in one guise or another for 20 years of my life.
The media focused on the New Zealand First Party's tribulations around its "foundation" and some reporters seemed to believe that whatever was happening might turn into a hanging offence for the party leader and deputy prime minister, Winston Peters.
The National Party, via its deputy leader Paula Bennett, launched a sustained assault on New Zealand First on the issue.
By the end of the week this attack on NZ First was revealed to be very much a case of the copper calling the kettle black.
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The Electoral Commission referred matters around NZ First's foundation to the Serious Fraud Office for investigation thus generating a lot of political and media hot air while the really big story last week was around National Party fundraising.
This went largely unnoticed.
The SFO had already laid charges against four people concerning behaviour around a donation to the National Party of $100,000 and this week we found out who they were.
As this donation was discussed in a recorded and published phone call between National Party leader Simon Bridges and MP Jami-Lee Ross, Bridges cannot argue that he wasn't aware of it.
When name suppression ended, Ross, a National Party Member of Parliament from 2011 to October 2018, was revealed as one of those to face trial.
When the SFO originally announced the prosecutions without naming the accused, Bridges told the world that the National Party's hands were clean. Presumably this was based on the fact that, by then, Ross had left the National Party and become an independent MP.
Even at that point, Bridges was dancing on the head of a pin. Ross was indeed a National Party MP at the time the donation was processed so to pretend that no National Party person was involved is creative to put it mildly. However, the media mostly bought that argument.
It emerged from court documents that the criminal case against four individuals being charged by the SFO was about two $100,000 donations, one in 2017 and one in 2018, not the single donation as previously assumed.
This is the latest chapter, but by no means the last, in a drama that may yet bring about a change of leader in the National Party.
Ross and the others charged by the SFO will now go to trial, presumably before the September 19 general election and will undoubtedly put up a fight.
While the media may, with difficulty, swallow the canard that no National Party operative had anything to do with the 2018 donation, it will be very much harder for Bridges to convince the world that the 2017 donation should also fall into this category.
Electoral law around financial contributions is clear. Any annual contribution in excess of $15,000 when reported to the Electoral Commission is a public act, meaning the name of the donor is published.
Whoever was behind this rort went to the trouble of finding at least seven people per donation to offer the use of their bank accounts. This is simple mathematics.
With the two donations, that means there were at least 14 bank accounts - though not necessarily 14 people in on the scam.
As anyone can have a number of "legal personalities" – a human, a company and a trust – it's possible that fewer than the minimum 14 collaborators were involved.
Shouldn't these people also be charged for aiding and abetting a crime?
By contrast New Zealand First's problems around its fundraising are trivial. The issue here is that New Zealand First had a foundation into which donations were accumulated.
The National Party has had just such a foundation for some years and the Labour Party, to my certain knowledge, considered the idea in recent times.
The issue seems to be that this foundation then lent money to the NZ First Party thus circumventing the transparency requirements of the Electoral Act.
The Electoral Commission passed this hot potato on to the police who quickly involved the Serious Fraud Office.
My view is that these transactions are legal and there's a gap in the law "you can drive a bus through".
Otago University Law Professor Andrew Geddis agreed, saying: "This is within the law, the law allows it. But whether it's what we really want of our political parties."
Bridges' announcement that he won't deal with New Zealand First post-election means that National is forced to focus on attacking the NZ First Party to the exclusion of spotlighting issues on which the Government may be vulnerable.
Not a great strategy.
To bend an old adage, parties who live in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones.
• Mike Williams grew up in Hawke's Bay. He is CEO of the NZ Howard League and a former Labour Party president. All opinions are his and not those of Hawke's Bay Today.