New Zealand First has gone to ground regarding its upcoming meeting with the Electoral Commission, with senior party officials dodging questions and avoiding media.

And leader Winston Peters is also refusing to answer questions on the saga during his media stand-ups at the G20 summit in Japan.

Earlier this week, Peters revealed that the New Zealand First Foundation had volunteered to provide written material to the Electoral Commission.

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It had also offered to meet with the commission about some of the issues raised in the media.

But Peters would not comment further, saying that as the leader of the party it was not for him to comment and passed the issue to the party's governance body and its president.

But no one from the party side has responded to requests from reporters to answer questions about the foundation, which appears to be a trust that loans money to NZ First.

The party's newly elected president – Rotorua-based Kristin Campbell-Smith – told her husband to tell any journalists who called that she would not be commenting.

The radio silence from New Zealand First means important questions over the foundation remain unanswered.

Stuff reported that the foundation appeared to have hidden political donations worth almost half a million dollars between April 2017 and March this year.

Many of these apparent donations to the foundation do not appear on the party's electoral returns.

The Electoral Commission said this week it was looking into these claims.


But beyond that short statement made this week, the commission said it would not be commenting while the process was ongoing.

Earlier this week, Act Leader David Seymour said he was considering going to the police with a complaint about the foundation.

But it remains unclear if he, or anyone, has lodged a formal complaint.

A spokesperson for the police said they were unable to respond to queries which seek to establish, whether specific individuals or organisations are, or have been, subject to a police investigation or complaint.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was more forthcoming.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters is in Japan for the G20 summit. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters is in Japan for the G20 summit. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A spokesman for the office told the Herald that it had not received a complaint about the New Zealand First Foundation, or donations to the party in general.


Tauranga-based NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell has also gone to ground.

Stuff reported that Mitchell was the man responsible for handling NZ First's larger donations.

Mitchell was absent from Parliament on Thursday when the story broke and has not responded to requests for comment since.

Peters is in Japan for the G20 summit and would not answer questions on the foundation, or issues around party donations.

But that has not stopped him from making veiled threats against the media.

In a Tweet, the Deputy Prime Minister said it was the first time New Zealand had ever attended the G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting - "we're off to try and sort out the world.


When we get back we're going to sort out the media".

A few hours later he posted a video with a similar message.

He again insisted New Zealand First was in the clear over any allegations of untoward practices around donations.

Peters then suggested the media "get some serious education on the electoral law of this country and stop writing these speculative articles which do your profession no credit".

"Fake news," he concluded, "was not good enough".