NZ to ban foreign political donations
New Zealand said it was banning foreign donations to politicians and tightening rules on political advertising ahead of an election next year and amid warnings of foreign interference.
The government said it would introduce immediately legislation banning donations of more than NZ$50 (£25) to political parties and candidates by foreigners, sharply lower than the existing NZ$1,500 limit.
“The risk of foreign interference in elections is a growing international phenomenon and can take many forms, including donations. New Zealand is not immune from this risk,” said Justice Minister Andrew Little.
Under the new laws, the names and addresses of those funding election advertisements on all platforms must be published to reduce the “avalanche of fake-news social-media ads” that had marred elections overseas, he added.
“We don’t want our elections to go the way of recent overseas examples where foreign interference appears to have been at play.”
“There's no need for anyone other than New Zealanders to donate to our political parties or seek to influence our elections."
The Government Communications Security Bureau and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service confirmed that foreign interference in the 2017 general election by a state actor "was, and remains, plausible".
The issue came to a head last year when the leader of New Zealand's National Party was accused of hiding a NZ$100,000 donation from Chinese businessman Zhang Yikun.
Party leader Simon Bridges rejected the charge.
New Zealand will hold its next general election in late 2020. Little said further action could be taken to counter foreign influence based on recommendations from a parliamentary committee that was looking at the issue.