Key Points:

Secret Santas have gifted tens of thousands of dollars to political parties for the last time.

The Electoral Commission last night released party donation returns for 2007, the final year in which parties could receive big money gifts from anonymous donors.

They showed that both Labour and National have shy and generous supporters, with the major parties receiving $230,000 and $553,000 respectively from unidentified individuals or trusts.

All contributions of more than $10,000 must be declared, and Labour's total donations of just over $1 million has been swelled considerably by the majority of its MPs contributing a portion of their salary towards the cost of repaying taxpayer's money Auditor General Kevin Brady found had been unlawfully spent on advertising during the last election.

Prime Minister Helen Clark gave her party $29,099 last year, with her deputy Michael Cullen forking out $24,802. Cabinet Ministers paid between $16,000 and $19,000 to the party, while backbenchers gave between $10,000 and $11,000.

The biggest single donation to Labour was an anonymous offering of $150,000.

National amassed $704,000 in donations. The Waitemata Trust, a secretive organisation which has showered National in cash in previous years, made up the majority of that figure with its $424,100 donation.

Corporates Toll New Zealand ($25,000), Fletcher Building ($20,000) and Westpac ($15,000) gave money to both major parties.

Of the minor parties, the Greens received $181,046 in donations, with their six MPs each gifting the party five-figure sums.

The Maori Party received one $70,000 donation, while United Future and Jim Anderton's Progressive Party received none. The Commission had not received returns from ACT and New Zealand First by yesterday's due date.

New rules contained within the Electoral Finance Act now govern donations to political parties.

Under the new regime, parties can only accept anonymous donations in sums up to $1000 and must publicly disclose all donations of more than $20,000.

Any donors who want to stay anonymous to parties and the public must give sums of more than $1000 to the Electoral Commission to pass on to the parties as a protected donation.

Individuals can only give up to $36,000 and parties can only accept up to $240,000 every three years in protected undisclosed donations.

IN THE MONEY
Labour: $230,000 of donations "on behalf of undisclosed clients" via: Palmer Theron law firm: $150,000, Simpson Grierson: $50,000, Morrison Kent lawyers: $30,000

National: $553,100 in anonymous donations and others through trusts: Waitemata Trust: $424,100, Ruahine Trust: $69,000, Nationalist Trust of Timaru: $20,000, Anonymous: $15,000, Anonymous: $25,000