29 Sep 2020

Who could be Deputy PM, if not Winston Peters?

From Checkpoint, 6:10 pm on 29 September 2020

The Serious Fraud Office has charged two people over its investigation into the New Zealand First Foundation - but Winston Peters says his party is in the clear.

The SFO investigation began back in February, after a referral from the police. It followed revelations that the foundation received donations from some of the country's wealthiest people in the business, fisheries and horse racing worlds.

None of the donations were declared in the party's electoral returns and the only disclosed source of money to New Zealand First since 2017 was a loan made by the foundation.

The two people have been charged with obtaining by deception and have interim name suppression.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party has been exonerated of any electoral law breaches.

Depending on what shape the next government takes, Winston Peters' current job as Deputy Prime Minister may be up for grabs.

Current polling puts New Zealand First on around one percent - well below the five percent needed to get them back into Parliament.

That could see the Greens or ACT vying for the Deputy Prime Minister position - a scenario that neither Labour nor National are ruling out.

RNZ deputy political editor Craig McCulloch has the story.