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Ways around Government's ban on foreign donations to political parties, law professor says


Yesterday the Government announced legislation to ban foreign donations to political parties, but it doesn't stop foreign-owned companies that are registered in New Zealand from donating. 

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It follows the Government’s announcement to crackdown on overseas donations. Source: Breakfast

The amount that those overseas can give directly to political parties has been reduced from $1500 down to $50.

The legislation comes in the wake of a number of donation controversies to political parties.

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University of Otago law professor Andrew Geddis told TVNZ1's Breakfast he thinks the legislation itself doesn't achieve all that much.

"There are so many ways in which overseas people can bring in money to New Zealand legally that the (political party) secretaries could look harder at it and it will still be fine," says Mr Geddis.

"Companies that are registered in New Zealand are allowed to give money even if they are wholly owned by overseas people.

"If you are an overseas person and you have a company here in New Zealand your company can give money to a political party and if it's coming from that company’s money then that’s entirely legal and there's no problem." 

He said its not a loophole, it's deliberately in the law that New Zealand companies can give money.

"We just haven't said that overseas owned New Zealand companies are exempt from that. The law says it, that hasn’t been changed by this bill so it will just carry on."