The police have cleared New Zealand
First of any offence under electoral law and the last of three
investigations into the party is over.

The Serious Fraud Office and the Electoral Commission also
cleared it over its use of donations and the way they were
declared, although Parliament censured its leader, Winston Peters (picture),
for presenting misleading evidence to the privileges committee.

ACT leader Rodney Hide lodged a complaint with the police in
September, alleging NZ First’s return of party donations for 2007
were false and that the party’s secretary had therefore committed an
offence under section 214G of the Electoral Act.

“Having assessed a range of information from various sources,
and having considered the elements of the offence contained in
s214G, police are satisfied that no offence was committed,” police
said in a statement tonight.

The return was made to the Electoral Commission on May 16 this
year. If a prosecution was to be brought it had to be done before
November 16.

Peters said the police decision was “totally expected” and Hide’s complaint should have been shredded when it arrived.

“Hide claims ACT is a law and order party yet he was prepared to
waste police time and money on a cheap political stunt,” Peters

“No offence had ever been committed by New Zealand First yet
Hide was prepared to drag innocent people through the mud for his
own devious ends.”

Peters said NZ First had been targeted from the outset because
it stood in the way of people who were prepared to “sell their
country to the highest bidder”.

“Hopefully this long smear campaign is at an end,” he said.