29 Oct 2020

New Zealand First Foundation case: Pair deny charges, elect trial by jury

1:28 pm on 29 October 2020

The two people charged in the New Zealand Foundation case have pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury.

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Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The Serious Fraud Office has charged two people with obtaining by deception after its investigation into the foundation and its handling of donations.

The defendants are accused of obtaining more than $700,000 between 2015 and 2020, which they then used to pay expenses of the New Zealand First Party.

Yesterday, one of the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge and elected trial by jury before Judge Allan Roberts in the North Shore District Court.

Today the second defendant had their first appearance in the same court this morning, where they also pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury.

RNZ, Stuff, NZME, TVNZ and MediaWorks fought to name the pair before the general election, arguing there was compelling public interest in identifying those charged before the polls closed.

The media entities lost in both the District and High Courts before unsuccessfully seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal, bringing their fight to name the accused ahead of the election to an end.

The defendants will next appear on 18 November in the North Shore District Court.

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