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Some questions which could be asked!

08/09/2008

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Scoopit!

On 5 September the Electoral Commission issued a press statement which read:-

The Electoral Commission has received formal correspondence from the president of New Zealand First in respect of the party’s annual donation returns for 2005, 2006, and 2007.

This correspondence will be considered by the commission at a meeting on Monday afternoon (8 Sep), along with options for possible further action by the commission.

The commission is unable to disclose the contents of the letter (or options) until, at earliest, their consideration on Monday.

We do not know what the correspondence said. Yet it would appear that the information supplied was not entirely to the satisfaction of the Electoral Commission.

Why do we know this, because on 8 September the Electoral Commission issued a press statement which read:-

The Electoral Commission met this afternoon (8 Sep ’08) and considered formal correspondence from the president of New Zealand First in respect of the party’s annual donation returns for 2005, 2006, and 2007.
The commission is requiring New Zealand First to produce promised amended party donation returns for the three years and their accompanying auditor’s reports no later than Tues, 30 Sep ’08, along with a more detailed explanation of the circumstances leading to the need to file amended returns.
The commission is unable to release the correspondence or further options for action under consideration, nor comment further until, at earliest, the required information has been provided or the 30 Sep ’08 deadline has passed.
Now to Adam’s rather simple brain some questions come to mind:-

1 Why given all that has gone on in recent weeks, especially in the light of the Privileges Committee hearings and questions in the media and the House had NZ First not gone over these returns line by line and obtained a revised audit report?

2 Why in the NZ First submissions to the Electoral Commission have they not supplied revised returns and an audit report?

3 What are the difficulties in supplying revised amended returns?

4 What is problematic in the NZ First explanations as supplied?

5 Might it be the case that various of the people involved have been quoted as having differing explanations, some of which or all might be at variance with the correspondence referred to in the press statement of 5 September 2008?

6 Could it be that the Electoral Commission has asked for sworn statements of fact from each and every person involved over the years? That is a step Adam would consider if he was asking the questions.

7 Could it be that the Commission is asking for validated documentary evidence to support the returns and to demonstrate that what is returned is complete?

8Might there be an issue with the form and content of the audit report?

9 Is it possible that the auditor is, in the circumstances now prevailing, unable to certify the completeness and accuracy of the returns?

10 Is the Commission requesting further and better particulars of the work done by the auditor to satisfy himself as to the completeness and accuracy of the returns in each year?

11 Could it be that the Commission is seeking an explanation as to what the loose ends comment reported in the press meant:-

President George Groombridge told the Herald in early May that the party would be late filing its donation declaration (due on April 30) because Mr Peters was overseas and would be “tying up the final loose ends” when he returned on May 16 – the day the return was filed.

12 Could it be that the Commission is seeking further and better particulars of the governance processes and procedures within New Zealand First, so as to try and determine just where responsibility/accountability for the errors lies?

Adam notes that NZ First has until 30 September to supply ‘the promised amended returns’ – yet previously various figures in the saga have indicated all the information was available and that NZ First had been assiduous in their attention to requirements.

NOTICE TO READER:- Adam stresses that he is not party to any information other than that in press articles and on the Electoral Commission web-site. The questions he has raised above are just those initial ones which have occurred to him as someone who has a background in audit and financial investigations earlier in their career. They are questions which are all capable of perfectly satisfactory answers, but they are questions which do come to mind. Others will no doubt come to mind later, when Adam has thought a little more deeply on the subject.

2 Comments
  1. 08/09/2008 23:47

    The very fact that they have given them till the end of the month, and are now claiming they cannot comment further until the information is provided and then they have presumably had time to consider it stinks of interference.
    Clark is doing everything in her power to protect peter’s and delay any investigation.
    This suggests to me that she knows (and has known from the beginning) more than she has let on, and is probably being threatened by Peter’s.

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