Police have been notified of undeclared contributions to the Mor Group.

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The Mori Party’s inability to report more than $300,000 in contributions is the fault of volunteers who misinterpreted the law, according to the party’s chief.

The Mori Party has been forwarded to the police by the Electoral Commission despite failing to report more than $300,000 in contributions.

Any contribution of more than $30,000 must be reported to the Commission within 10 working days of receipt.

Between March and October of last year, three contributions above the threshold were made to the Mori Party but were not reported to the Commission until recently.

John Tamihere donated a total of $158,000 over 2020, Aotearoa Te Kahu donated $120,000 and the National Urban Māori Authority donated a little under $50,000.

The Electoral Commissions said the referral was made on Friday, 9 April, and it would not be making any further comment.

Māori Party President Che Wilson told RNZ the mistake was made by party volunteers who were “learning the ropes as they went along”.

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“We took over a party that had broken down and as part of the rebuild as volunteers when we got into the thick of the campaign we misinterpreted how we had to report things, so we reported them late.

Che Wilson, at the annual Tira Hoe Waka Whanganui River pilgrimage, January 2019.

Māori Party President Che Wilson Photo: RNZ

“As soon as we found out about it we made contact but that was when we were doing the final wrap up of the reporting for the entire election.”

Once party volunteers realised their mistake, four or five weeks ago, they contacted the Electoral Commission, Wilson said.

“We’ve been working with them since to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” he said.

The party is “mindful” of the significant consequences it could now face, Wilson said.

“That’s why we made sure, as soon as we realised, to do things and work it out.”

“We want to work with the Electoral Commission and the Police to ensure this never happens again.”

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