] New Zealand First leader Winston Peters will not get his portfolios back, despite the Serious Fraud Office clearing his party of allegations of fraud.
The SFO on Friday found no basis for fraud charges to be laid, but it says questions remain about possible breaches of electoral law over the party's non-disclosure of donations.
It has referred information to the police and Electoral Commission investigations into New Zealand First's 2005 and 2007 returns. It is understood the Electoral Commission will meet on Wednesday to consider the issue.
Prime Minister Helen Clark says while she is pleased with the result of the SFO inquiry, she notes that other authorities are still looking into matters.
Miss Clark says given that, and the fact the general election is now close, she will continue in Mr Peters' roles, including Foreign Affairs, as a fresh mandate is sought.
The National Party says the SFO result does not change its stance that it would not work with Mr Peters.
Peters remains adamant
Mr Peters is adamant that his party did nothing wrong,
He says all matters regarding his party's electoral returns have been resolved, but it still comes down to the legal advice the party had at the time.
He says electoral law has since been clarified.
"We went to the Electoral Commission way back then, said that we had had this legal opinion; asked them for theirs." he says. "They didn't have one.
"They said to rely on your own legal opinion, which we did. That's where this matter started and still rests, and that's why I supported a change to the Electoral Act because the Electoral Act wasn't clear back then, it is now."
Questions raised - Liddell
SFO director Grant Liddell says there was no basis for laying fraud charges relating to donations channelled through the Spencer Trust.
However, he says the way they were dealt with did raise questions about other possible breaches, relating to electoral matters.
Mr Liddell says information has been given to the Police and the Electoral Commission, which are also investigating donations to the party.
Waste of time - Peters
Mr Peters described the SFO investigation as a waste of time and money, insisting the party had done nothing wrong and saying he had been the victim of a character assassination.
"All those matters have been resolved in our discussions with the Electoral Commission, and these matters arise also from a variance in people's view of the law. We still haven't got clarity on that but we've put in a return in the alternative should their view of the law be correct."
Mr Peters says he believes he has already declared a gift he received in January last year, which the SFO says was not declared.
Explanation still needed - Hide
ACT Party leader Rodney Hide, who sparked the inquiry into the New Zealand First Party, says Mr Peters still needs to explain why a secret trust was funnelling donations to his party.
"Why he took business donations, put them through a secret trust and used that to fund his legal costs and his party costs without even it appears his party knowing and certainly without declaring it as required by our electoral laws and by parliament."