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Money in Politics: Labour Party candidate Stuart Nash received donations to the tune of $99,000

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Labour Candidate Stuart Nash. Photo / suppliedLabour Candidate Stuart Nash. Photo / supplied

New Labour MP Stuart Nash was bankrolled to the tune of $4000 a month by political backers for more than a year leading up to last year's general election.

Mr Nash's $99,000 in candidate donations meant his warchest ranked only behind Hone Harawira's $105,000 courtesy of the Kim Dotcom and his Internet Party as being the country's best-funded candidate.

MONEY IN POLITICS: CLICK HERE TO EXAMINE ALL THE RETURNS

Analysis by the Herald's Money in Politics crowdsourcing project shows Mr Nash's fundraising prowess delivered him more than three times that raised by the next highest-earning Labour Party candidate.

The bulk of candidate returns were made public early last week, but Mr Nash's was delayed for processing and only recently was put online by the Electoral Commission.

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Mr Nash won the Napier seat off National, in part helped by the Conservative Party's Garth McVicar splitting the vote, and was talked about as a possible candidate to replace David Cunliffe as party leader.

The returns showed Mr Nash received $36,000 from Caniwi Capital Partners and $31,000 from Andrew Kelly, mostly paid in monthly instalments dating from June 2013.

Mr Nash also received $5000 from rich lister Sir Robert Jones, $9000 from Parnell accountant Lynch Phibbs and $18,000 from various branches of the Labour Party.

Mr Nash said the two main backers for his ultimately successful race for the Napier elector seat were long-term friends who "believed in what I was doing".

He was unapologetic about his fund-raising prowess and said his pitch to Troy Bowker and Andrew Kelly was simple: "The case I put to them was 'We've got a really good team around me, but it doesn't matter how good the team is, without money ... without money the odds of winning are greatly reduced.'"

As for the political leanings of the pair, Mr Nash claimed ignorance but said their support was "humbling" as it was based on relationships rather than ideology.

"They were a couple of mates supporting a mate. It was quite a humbling thing: It wasn't as if they were putting money into an investment expecting a five, six or seven per cent return."

Mr Nash confirmed Kelly was known as "Ned": "I think anyone who's last name is Kelly gets called Ned at some stage."

Caniwi executive chairman Troy Bowker was revealed last year to have commissioned a report from right-leaning political consultant Simon Lusk canvassing the possibility of founding a new political party headed by Mr Nash.

Reports in the Hawke's Bay Today said Mr Bowker was working with an un-named partner named "Ned" on the eventually abandoned new party project.

Epsom-based Mr Kelly is described as a "general manager" and also directs a number of timber companies, including one called Nedcorp.

After the election Mr Bowker said the $10,000 Lusk report was "binned" after it showed starting a new political party would be a "long and costly process".

Money in politics

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MONEY IN POLITICS: CLICK HERE TO EXAMINE ALL THE RETURNS

- NZ Herald

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