The Electoral Commission says funds spent on the Campaign for Change were candidate donations and will need to be declared in candidate returns after the election.
On 28 June 2017 the Electoral Commission received a complaint from David Farrar regarding the election expense and donations implications of the Campaign for Change run by Matt McCarten.
The Electoral Commission has looked into the matters raised and sought information about the campaign from Matt McCarten and Andrew Kirton, the General Secretary of the New Zealand Labour Party.
Mr McCarten has confirmed that he personally paid for costs associated with the campaign and spent $65,095 up to the point at which the Labour Party stepped in to take over on 23 June. Based on the information provided, the Electoral Commission has concluded that by personally paying for costs in support of the efforts of volunteers campaigning for Auckland Labour Party candidates, Mr McCarten made candidate donations for the purposes of the Electoral Act.
Mr McCarten has agreed to provide further information about the exact share of the Auckland candidates involved from the $65,095 total. Once the amounts are determined, he will make each candidate aware of the amount that he has donated to them so that they can record those amounts for their donations compliance and disclosure in January 2018.
Mr McCarten has advised that no printed materials and no other election advertising materials were produced by Campaign for Change in support of the Labour Party or candidates. The expenses involved in the Campaign for Change were costs of accommodation, food and transport which are not by definition election expenses. Election expenses are defined as costs incurred preparing and publishing election advertisements published during the regulated period. On this basis, the Commission has concluded that no election expenses were involved.