The Green Party won't be accepting any more donations from a donor who has been found guilty of what's described as one of the worst cases of animal neglect ever seen in New Zealand.
But it won't be repaying the $53,970 that Masterton woman Lindsay Fraser has donated because the law requires the money to be used for party purposes, the party says.
Fraser donated $29,000 to the Green Party's 2020 election campaign, and had also donated $24,970 a year earlier.
In September she was sentenced to 150 hours' community work, ordered to pay SPCA reparations of $15,000, and disqualified from owning more than two stock animals for a period of 10 years.
She had left her animals to starve with untreated open, gaping wounds, and sheep with severe fly strike and parasites. Many animals had to be put down, their health unable to be restored by intensive vet treatment.
It was described as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty and neglect ever seen in New Zealand.
"Words can't describe the pain and suffering these animals must have gone through with a lack of food and no treatment sought for their severe injuries," SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said at the time.
"It is inconceivable that any person could not notice that intervention was required for these animals."
Green Party co-convenor Penny Leach said the party couldn't have predicted that Fraser would have been convicted of animal abuse after donating to the party.
"The awful news was made known to our team when we were contacted by a journalist on Tuesday, June 2," she said in a statement.
"We will, of course, not be accepting any further donations from Ms Fraser. And will continue to push for all animals in Aotearoa, and around the world, to be treated humanely and with care."
She said the party couldn't return the money or pass it on to the SPCA because of obligations under the Incorporated Societies Act.
"We are required, as a not-for-profit, to use funds received for the intended political purpose of the Green Party.
"This means we cannot donate outside of the remit of Green Party work. This rule exists because when someone donates to a cause or organisation, they must trust that it will be used for the reasons intended and not passed on to another cause or organisation."
Details of the charges were "incredibly distressing", she said.
"We absolutely condemn animal welfare abuse of any kind. Animal welfare campaigning, so that our voiceless friends are treated humanely, has long been part of the Green Party kaupapa.
"The Green Party have a robust process for accepting significant donations. Donations are run through an ethics committee before accepted and we are proud of this transparent, ethical approach."
Fraser told Newsroom that she was a long-time member of the Green Party who had repeatedly contributed financially to the party's political efforts. She claimed she was the victim of an illegal campaign of "harassment and bullying" by the SPCA.