19 Dec 2019

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel blames husband for donor non-disclosure

2:29 pm on 19 December 2019

Christchurch's mayor is blaming her husband for not declaring six large donations towards her re-election campaign.

Lianne Dalziel and husband Rob Davidson celebrate preliminary results in the Christchurch local body election.

Lianne Dalziel and husband Rob Davidson. Photo: RNZ / Belinda McCammon

An auction run by Lianne Dalziel's husband, Rob Davidson, brought in $40,000, but she did not declare individual contributions until yesterday, under pressure from another mayoral candidate, John Minto.

Dalziel said her husband believed the six donors who gave more than $1500 did not need to be declared, and she acted on his advice.

She said she now regretted and apologised for not taking independent advice.

"I've been completely transparent, I actually have got nothing to hide, I never have had anything to hide, I relied on my husband's advice," Dalziel said.

The Electoral Act requires donors of sums greater than $1500 to be identified.

The updated donors list released yesterday afternoon showed Dalziel received six donations from the auction greater than $1500, including one which totalled $17,850 from a person named Wei Min Lu.

Dalziel said Wei was a close friend.

The other donors who gave above $1500 in the auction were Yong Chen ($3920), Zhe Cheng Tan ($2800), Jiang Ping Wang ($2350), Grandland Investment Ltd ($2950) and Yang Xia Wu ($1750).

The shareholders of Grandland Investment is Chen Bing and Shi Shaohuan.

Dalziel assured ratepayers that she would not be influenced by Chinese donors.

"I can give you an absolute assurance," she said.

"I have always stood aside when there is any question of any potential influence."

After the donors above $1500 from the auction were revealed yesterday, Minto said there needed to be an investigation into the non-disclosure.

He labelled it an "insult to ratepayers".

"Well I think it's clear that the first expenses [and donations] return she filed makes a mockery of democracy, this is a very experienced politician, she knows the rules down to the last details," he said.

"Electoral law is there for a very special reason, so that people know who is bank rolling campaigns for public office."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs