Rodney Hide has laid a complaint with the police about New Zealand First’s failure to declare donations over $10,000 on its annual return to the Electoral Commission.
Mr Hide’s formal complaint letter to police outlined the apparent breach and asked police to investigate.
NZ First submitted its 2007 return late. It was due on April 30 but was not filed until May 16. If a prosecution was to made it would need to happen within six months – that is before November 16.
The commission spokesman said if a corrupt practice was proven the party secretary could be fined $20,000 and or a year in jail. If the offending was unintended the penalty was just the fine but if the secretary was found to have taken all reasonable steps and believed they filed an accurate return they had a defence.
ACT leader Rodney Hide said Mr Peters had to take responsibility for the mess given that the party’s 2007 return was two weeks late because party officials were waiting for him to sign it off.
“So Winston’s responsible for everything and it wasn’t that long ago that he was denying any knowledge of the Spencer Trust. Now we understand it’s a major funding route for his party,” he said.
It is the party secretary not its leader who is leagally responsible not its leader should a case be made. But New Zealand First is it’s leader and this reflects as badly on him as the party.