Important questions about the controversial New Zealand First Foundation still linger, despite Winston Peters saying his party and MPs have been "exonerated".
This is according to electoral law expert, and Otago University Professor, Andrew Geddis who said the saga is by no means over for New Zealand First.
"The fact that people have now been criminally charged with how that entity ran has to raise questions about the reason for the Foundation, and the individuals involved within it," he said.
This comes after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that two people are facing charges after a probe into the Foundation.
The pair were charged with obtaining by deception but, because they have interim name suppression, they cannot be named.
The SFO did, however, reveal that neither of those charged were a minister, a sitting MP or a candidate in the upcoming election, a member of their staff or a current member of the NZ First Party.
Peters told reporters yesterday that this means that his party has been "exonerated".
He then took aim at the SFO, expressing his "dismay at the timing and conduct of the SFO decision".
"The timing of its decision to lay charges against the Foundation constitutes a James Comey-level error of judgment."
But Geddis said this is not a fair comparison.
Comey, former FBI director, reopened a criminal investigation into the use of then-US President candidate Hilary Clinton's use of her personal emails given new information had come to light.
She was subsequently cleared but the timing of the reopened investigation, just before the 2016 election, was criticised.
Geddis said comparing NZ First's situation to that of Clinton's was "completely apples and oranges – they're not the same at all".
"Comey announced he was going to reopen an investigation that had already cleared Clinton and ultimately found nothing in terms of wrongdoing.
"Here we've got New Zealand's premier law enforcement agency saying they found credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing, sufficient to bring charges."
And the SFO was never actually investigating the NZ First Party.
Rather, it was investigating a Foundation that the NZ First Party had set up.
"Because the SFO was never investigating the party, it was never going to bring any changes against the party," Geddis said.
He said the Foundation – which exists to serve the NZ First Party – has people connected to it, who have been alleged to have committed serious criminal offences.
"That's just what happened – no amount of denying is going to hide it."
Meanwhile, the Green Party said the SFO's involvement in this, and other issues regarding New Zealand's major political parties, shows the need for changes to the electoral donation system.
Electoral law expert, and Wellington-based barrister, Graeme Edgeler agrees.
"For too long, police seemed uninterested in pursuing election finance investigations, with the Serious Fraud Office now involved, this seems to have changed, which is good."
But he said there are still problems with election finance law, particularly the very high level at which disclosure obligations kick in, and also problems with election advertising law.