24 Feb 2021

NZ First Foundation donation case: Trial scheduled for mid-2022

2:15 pm on 24 February 2021

The two people charged over the handling of donations to the New Zealand First Foundation will stand trial next year.

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Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The pair - who cannot be named - were charged by the Serious Fraud Office with obtaining by deception, in relation to $700,000 in donations made to the Foundation between 2015 and 2020.

That money was then allegedly used to pay expenses for the New Zealand First Party.

The pair deny the charges.

In the High Court at Auckland this morning, a six-week trial was scheduled for June next year.

There will be a pre-trial hearing in June this year, where the issue of name suppression will be dealt with.

When the individuals were charged by the SFO a few weeks before the 2020 election, it confirmed that neither of the accused were ministers, sitting MPs, candidates, staffers or current members of New Zealand First.

But since then, one of the defendants has fought to keep their name out of the public arena.

At a hearing in North Shore District Court last November, the defendant argued that the case had been "politicised" and they would face "trial by media".

Those arguments were rejected by Judge Deidre Orchard, who declined to continue name suppression.

However, the defendant filed an appeal against that decision, meaning their name has been kept secret.