14 Apr 2021

Māori Party co-leaders direct donation questions to party executive

5:48 pm on 14 April 2021

Māori Party co-leaders are directing all questions about donations to the party executive, but say they have sought assurances everything is above board.

Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer are directing all questions about donations to the party executive (file picture). Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Three donations over $30,000 to the party have been referred to the police for breaching electoral laws, because they were not declared within 10 working days of being received.

All donations from one source totalling over $30,000 must be declared to the Electoral Commission in that time.

Queried about the origin of the donations, Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngārewa-Packer referred reporters to the party executive, saying it was for them to answer.

Waititi said he had sought assurances everything was above board.

It was in response to questions about the donors behind Aotearoa Te Kahu, a trust administered by a Wellington-based law firm, which donated $120,000.

Māori Party president Che Wilson said he did not know who the donors were but the money was for John Tamihere, who unsuccessfully ran for the Tāmaki Makaurau seat. Tamihere was a party co-leader during the election campaign, but stood down after not winning the seat.

Tamihere is now the Māori Party's vice president (tāne).

Tamihere is not commenting because of the police investigation.

  • Ministers confident no taxpayer money used in Māori Party donations
  • Māori Party undeclared donations referred to police