Politics | Te Pāti Māori

‘Government of privilege’ - Te Pāti Māori on National’s undeclared donations

Te Pāti Māori is calling for a by-election and the establishment on an independent commission against corruption after National’s New Plymouth MP David MacLeod failed to declare 19 candidate donations.

Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer called the coalition parties “a government of privilege”.

“They are a government of privilege that had over a million dollars invested in their campaigns from landowners. They are a government of privilege that is making harsh cuts on indigenous people, on tangata whenua, on tāngata hauā, on our reo, all for the gain of the super-wealthy.

She also said the role of the commissioner would be to quash an environment where “‘oh, it’s accidental,’ ‘oh didn’t mean that,’ ‘No, I didn’t know it would be checked,’” was normalised.

She called out the National-led government’s “double standards”.

“This is a party and government that was calling out all sorts of, conflict of interests when Nanaia Mahuta and her whānau were working with the government.

‘Double standards’

“We have all the signs of a government that’s prepared to have double standards and one source of truth, which is its own.”

MacLeod was stood down from his select committee roles after failing to declare 18 candidate donations in 2022 and one in 202, (worth $178,000) to the Electoral Commission. He called the failure an accident because he believed he only needed to declare donations given in 2023.

Earlier today, Ngarewa-Packer wrote in a statement: “When the brown party is late to file a disclosure, we’re referred to the Police and Serious Fraud Office. When the National Party doesn’t disclose, it’s a ‘mistake’ and ‘poor error of judgement’. This is not one law for all.”

She is referring to Te Pāti Māori referred to the police and SFO by The Electoral Commission after they failed to declare over $300,000 in donations back in 2020. No action was taken.

Te Ao Māori News asked Macleod for his comments on what Ngarewa-Packer had said.

“I have known Debbie for many years and am very disappointed she has made these comments.

“I have been very open and honest about the mistake I’ve made and have now corrected my return with the Electoral Commission,” Macleod wrote in an email.