There are many ways you can donate money, goods, or services to a party or candidate. You will be identified as a donor if you donate over a certain amount. If you donate anonymously, limits and rules apply.
The threshold for reporting donations
If you donate over $15,000 to a party or $1,500 to a candidate, they must report your name, address, and the value of the donation in their return. This could be a single donation, or donations adding up to the threshold figure.
Parties must file a return annually on 30 April. Candidates must file a return after an election.
If you donate over $30,000, the party must report your name, address, and the value of your donation to us within 10 working days.
You can donate anonymously
You can make an anonymous donation of up to a certain amount.
Anonymous donations up to $1,500
You can make an anonymous donation of up to $1,500 to a party or a candidate. Candidates and parties are not allowed to retain anonymous donations above this amount, unless they are ‘protected from disclosure’ — see below. Otherwise, if a candidate or party receives an anonymous donation, they may keep up to $1,500 of that donation. They must pass to us any money above that figure, within 20 working days.
Anonymous donations of more than $1,500 — donations protected from disclosure
If you are a 'New Zealand person' and want to make a donation to a party of more than $1,500 and do not want your identity to be disclosed to the party, you can make a ‘donation protected from disclosure’. You pay the money to the Electoral Commission, we put it together with any other donations protected from disclosure, and we pay it to the party in regular payments.
A ‘New Zealand person’ is someone who is not defined as an ‘overseas person’ in the Electoral Act.
An ‘overseas person’ is anyone who:
- resides outside New Zealand and is not a New Zealand citizen or registered as an elector
- is a body corporate incorporated outside of New Zealand
- is an unincorporated body that has its head office or principal place of business outside of New Zealand.
The maximum for donations protected from disclosure
Using this method, as an individual or organisation, you can donate up to $49,143 to any one political party, between two successive elections. You can donate to more than one political party in this way, up to the $49,143 limit for each. If a donation will take you over your limit, we will return the excess to you.
Your donation can include contributions from other New Zealand persons, but overseas persons are not allowed to contribute to your donation.
You cannot tell anyone you’ve made a donation protected from disclosure
It’s illegal to indicate or suggest to anyone that you:
- are going to make a donation protected from disclosure
- have made a donation protected from disclosure.
How to make a donation protected from disclosure
To find out about making a donation protected from disclosure email us at email@example.com
Cheques may not be accepted after 31 May 2021
As all major banks are removing the use of cheques as a payment option, the Electoral Commission may no longer be able to accept donations protected from disclosure by cheque from 31 May 2021. The Commission is currently investigating options within our legislative parameters for alternative payment methods. In the meantime if you wish to make a donation protected from disclosure please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance for a confidential discussion of options.
Where to find out more about donating
More information about how donations are recorded is in the Party Secretary and Candidate handbooks.