Election 2020: Wealthy Lists Distributing Money Across New Zealand’s Political Spectrum

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Les Mills International founder Phillip Mills has donated to Labor and the Green Party in recent years.  (File photo)

John Selkirk / Tips

Les Mills International founder Phillip Mills has donated to Labor and the Green Party in recent years. (File photo)

Wealthy New Zealanders have poured their money across the political spectrum, making big donations to left and right parties.

Records kept by the Election Commission show that the Green Party received $ 50,000 from investor Peter Kraus, who was featured on NBR rich list in 2016, when the publication estimated her family’s worth at $ 115 million.

His colleague Phillip Mills, founder of Les Mills International, also donated $ 45,000 to the party in two installments over the past year. This is not the first time Mills, who also heads a sustainable development non-governmental organization, has made a donation to the Green Party. In addition, he donated $ 62,500 to the Labor Party in 2019.

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Cycling advocate Bruce Copeland, owner of software development company Sandfield, also donated $ 35,000 to the Green Party this year.

The Green Party is currently campaigning for a wealth tax which, if implemented, would most likely result in significantly higher taxes for donors, with an annual levy of 1% on wealth held in the country. over $ 1 million, and 2% on assets exceeding $ 2 million.

Alan Gibbs is a long-time supporter of ACT.  (File photo)

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Alan Gibbs is a long-time supporter of ACT. (File photo)

Green Party MPs also tithe the party of their taxpayer-funded salaries, meaning donations of just over $ 30,000 from ministers Eugenie Sage and Julie Anne Genter are also included in the return.

Only donations of $ 30,000 or more are declared to the Election Commission and made public.

The Labor Party, which has yet to release its tax policy, received $ 50,000 in June from Mark Todd.

Retired High Court Judge Robert Smellie, who has donated large sums to the Labor Party in the past, donated $ 50,000 in June.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union donated $ 40,000 to Labor alongside Auckland-based businessman Dinesh Khadka, who donated $ 29,900 in May – just under the disclosure limit – then an additional $ 380 in July, placing the cumulative donation above the disclosure limit.

The National Party received $ 50,000 from private equity firm Christopher & Banks, as well as $ 50,000 from the DHC Trust.

ACT received a series of large donations from wealthy Kiwis, including $ 50,000 from Murray Chandler, $ 100,700 from Jenny Gibbs, $ 50,000 from Graeme Edwards and $ 35,000 from Christopher Reeve.

Alan Gibbs has been on rich lists for years and is a longtime supporter of the party.

Only donations that total more than $ 30,000 are included in immediate returns, which means the large amount raised in small donations is invisible to the public.

On these specific large donations, ACT currently leads the pack, with $ 235,000 donated this year. The Green Party is just behind with $ 233,000.

But the two biggest parties, Labor and National, are likely to be somewhat ahead in terms of actual cash flow thanks to the larger, smaller donations each party collects.

Political parties are under some financial pressure due to the long election campaign.

The National and the Green Party have both reached out to supporters after the election was postponed to ask for more financial support.


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