Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has promised to "set the record straight" in regards to any allegations that New Zealand First is in breach of the Electoral Act, later today.

Briefly speaking to media before NZ First's weekly caucus meeting this morning, Peters was coy on talking about any potential legal issues with the New Zealand First Foundation and donations to the party.

But he promised to address the issue later today: "I've got a press statement coming out later today which will put the record straight," he said.

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"In the meantime, I'm not making any comment."

He did, however, say that the statement would reflect the fact that for 27 years, New Zealand First had obeyed the electoral laws in New Zealand.

"We have never deviated and last time there were allegations like this was in 2008. There were three inquiries, the Serious Fraud Office, the police and the Electoral Commission.

"They all found us to be exonerated – we're not going to have this again."

He walked off as media pressed him about the purpose of the NZ First Foundation.

The Electoral Commission issued a statement this morning saying it was looking into the matter.

"The documents being referred to in the media have not been shown to the Electoral Commission," a spokesperson said.

"We will be contacting New Zealand First and the New Zealand First Foundation to seek further information."


Senior NZ First Minister Tracey Martin this morning denied any knowledge of the fund.

"I don't know anything about it," she told media.

She added that reports about the fund were "interesting" but she did not elaborate on why.

Both hers and Peters' comments come after questions over the legality of the fund were raised by electoral law experts.

Stuff this morning revealed the fund appeared to have hidden political donations worth almost half a million dollars.

National deputy leader Paula Bennett was also questioning the fund. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National deputy leader Paula Bennett was also questioning the fund. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The foundation was reportedly controlled by advisers of Peters, including his lawyer, Brian Henry, with money used to fund NZ First's electoral campaigns and legal advice for an MP.


Law professor at Otago University Andrew Geddis told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that on the surface the foundation's actions appeared to contravene the Electoral Act.

"That was outside the spirit of the law but within its strict wording," he told the programme.

"Now that we're hearing that the foundation was actually paying for the party's activities, that then becomes donations that the party should have disclosed and never were disclosed, and that looks to be in contravention of the Electoral Act."

Public law expert Graeme Edgeler also believers there were legal issues with the fund, when it came to the electoral law.

Meanwhile, National deputy leader Paula Bennett was also questioning the fund.

"It looks like really serious allegations to the point where the stories you see coming out today question whether or not the law has actually been broken."


Bennett conceded National had used trusts in the past to hide political donations, and it was legal at the time, but had since pushed for the rules to change.

"Changes have been made, changes that we supported and actually helped implement."

She said the law now makes it clear that donations are to be declared, and the New Zealand First Foundation did not seem to be in the spirit of the law.