The Labour Party received nearly $500,000 in donations of more than $10,000 to fund its election campaign last year - including from an impressive list of artists and the makers of bro'Town.

Parties' returns of donations of more than $10,000 in 2008 - an election year - were made public yesterday.

Labour's included prominent artists who are likely to have donated works for fundraising auctions.

They include painters Stanley Palmer ($18,500), Karl Maughan ($18,000) and Judy Millar ($11,250), sculptor Neil Dawson ($18,000) and glass artist Ann Robinson ($18,500).

Labour also had donations totalling $14,900 from Firehorse Films, the makers of bro'Town.

National disclosed total donations of $207,000 - including $77,000 from supporters who made their donations anonymously through the Electoral Commission under the new "protected disclosure" regime.

Labour took in $9000 by the same means, which restricts individuals to donations of up to $36,000 and prevents their identity from becoming known to the public or the party. Parties do not have to disclose donations of less than $10,000. Labour received a total of $117,500 in disclosable donations from different unions - its main donors.

Its former leader, Helen Clark, gave just over $10,000 about a fortnight after the election. Former Police Minister Annette King's husband Ray Lind also gave about $10,000 last September.

Of the disclosed donations, the Act Party took in the second largest amount - its disclosures totalled about $316,000 - including $200,000 from Alan Gibbs and $101,000 from new MP John Boscawen.

New Zealand First benefited from the largesse of racehorse breeder Sir Patrick Hogan, who gave it $12,000.

It also received $100,000 from the business of Phillip and Peter Vela. The Velas also gave $100,000 to the Labour Party.