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Mallard Attacks National's Use Of Trust Funds

Mallard Attacks National's Use Of Trust Funds

Mr Brownlee and Mr Mallard debating the respective merits of campaign funding on Agenda.

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Today while being interviewed on TVNZ's Agenda program, Education Minister Trevor Mallard accused National of hiding their election donations "through [using] trust funds."

During previous election campaigns, trust funds have been used by both ACT and National to funnel money from individuals who want to make large donations without being subjected to the glare of public scrutiny.

The Deputy Leader of the National Party, Gerry Brownlee, who was also on Agenda, defended National's use of trust funds, pointing out that trust funds were made public and scrutinised by a Government agency. Mr Brownlee also considered that Mr Mallard had said there was something illegal about the way National collected campaign funds. Mr Mallard at no time during the interview suggested that National was involved in any illegal activity. Mr Mallard did however attack National's lack of transparency for utilising trust funds to filter campaign donations.

"The trusts have to be set up in New Zealand but where their money comes from doesn’t have to be shown and that is the case," he said.

The issue of who finances National was sparked by comments Mr Mallard made on Thursday, where he implied that National policy was heavily influenced by the United States and that the National campaign had received financial assistance and American help.

National Party Leader Dr Brash subsequently released a press statement stating that all National policies “are home-grown with the best interests of all New Zealanders in mind.”

An American Billioniare friendly with Dr Brash, and who has close ties to the Republican Party, Julian Roberston was the target of Mr Mallard's insinuations that National was receiving American financial assistance according to the NZ Herald.

When contacted by Scoop yesterday National Party campaign manager Steven Joyce explained that National hadn't received "any large donations" from Julian Robertson.

"It is possible that [Mr Robertson] made an anonymous donation. It is also possible that he may have given to one of the trusts that periodically makes donations to us but again I have no knowledge of that. They don't tell me who gives the money so I don't know," he said.

"Trusts can from time to time get together and donate money to a political party. We are required to report the entity we receive it from and that is what we do," Mr Joyce said.

Dr Brash told Radio New Zealand's Geoff Robinson last week that he wasn’t himself personally privy to where campaign donations came from. On Agenda this morning the only light Mr Brownlee could throw on where money National had been given, originated from, was that "the overwhelming majority of it comes from within this country."

In the 1999 election National spent more than $2 million on its election campaign. With Bill English as Leader the amount of money National spent campaigning fell to just over $1 million. In a recent NZ Herald article National Party president Judith Kirk declared that National had "rebuilt" its funding base since 2002.

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Full transcript of Agenda available at - http://agendatv.itmsconnect.com

ENDS

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