1 Aug 2008

Dunne calls for answers over NZ First donations

6:31 pm on 1 August 2008

New Zealand First needs to address allegations about its handling of political donations, the leader of the United Future says.

New Zealand First and its leader Winston Peters have refused to answer questions about donations, including a $25,000 cheque from Wellington businessman Sir Robert Jones in 2005.

That has prompted ACT Party leader Rodney Hide to complain to the Serious Fraud Office, causing some fiery debate in Parliament this week.

Mr Peters has repeatedly rejected the allegations, which he describes as a shameful episode of dirty politics.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says he has so far refrained from commenting on the questions New Zealand First is refusing to answer over its donations.

However, he says given the appallingly bitter and personal attacks raised in Parliament on the issue, the matter needs to be resolved.

Mr Dunne says New Zealand First and Mr Peters need to provide a clear response to the serious allegations.

He says the media needs to stop drip-feeding the allegations and the Labour and National parties should stop walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting a possible post-election partner.

SFO to consider complaint

The Serious Fraud Office says it will consider the complaint about New Zealand First's handling of donations promptly, because of the legitimate public interest.

However, a full investigation will be held only if the SFO believes there is reason to suspect it may find serious or complex fraud.

The SFO says it will carry out an assessment before making a decision on whether to investigate.