National reaped the most in donations for the 2011 election year, declaring a total of $2.6 million - more than double the amount Labour received.

The Electoral Commission released the parties' election year donation returns yesterday. It is the first time parties have had to disclose how much they received in smaller donations as well as individual donations of more than $15,000.

Act got the second-highest amount in donations, taking in $1.28 million, and Labour was third, followed by the Green Party with $492,591. As well as the disclosed donations, National was given nearly $200,000 and Act took $61,730 under the new regime for anonymous donations.

The parties were the only ones to get donations under the new "protected disclosure" regime last election, which allows donors who wish to be anonymous to give donations to the Electoral Commission to pass on to a political party.


It is the only way to give anonymous donations of more than $1500 and strict confidentiality rules apply, prohibiting the donor from telling the party they had donated.

Fletcher Building was the most even-handed donor - giving $20,000 each to National, Labour, the Maori Party, Act and the Greens. The Road Transport Forum - which also gave smaller sums to individual MPs - gave $20,000 each to Labour and National. The Todd Corporation donated $50,000 to National and Labour - which had already been disclosed under rules requiring donations of more than $30,000 to be declared within 10 working days.

National's other previously undisclosed donors included real estate company director Garth Barfoot ($22,000), Cavalier Bremworth founder Grant Biel ($15,500) and $20,000 from discount shop chain The 123 Mart.

The party also received $21,600 from Contue Jinwan Enterprise, which is owned by Zhaowu Shen, a former adviser to the Chinese Business Round Table. Shen is the husband of National's most generous donor, Susan Chou, who gave $100,000 last year.

Labour was given a combined total of $105,200 by the trade unions and $30,000 from Chinese-born artist Cao Jun.

The Talley's company gave $20,000 to Act and its own candidates also gave significant sums. Then leader Don Brash and present leader John Banks gave $25,980 each and former MP John Boscawen gave almost $80,000. Act also received 111 donations of between $5000 and $10,000, totalling $593,755.


Source: Electoral Commission. 'Anonymously' includes protected disclosure donations and anonymous donations of less than $1500 given to the party.