Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has not held back over his rookie MP’s mistake over electoral donations, telling reporters David MacLeod has “stuffed up big time”.

MacLeod has been stood down from his select committee roles after failing to properly declare nearly $180,000 in donations from his electoral campaign.

Luxon said: “I think he’s very genuine about that he got this completely wrong.

“He stuffed it up.”

David MacLeod has been stood down from his select committee roles after failing to properly declare nearly $180,000 in donations to his electoral campaign.

The New Plymouth MP didn’t have a clear answer for reporters about how he managed to fail to report nearly $200,000 of political donations, despite being an experienced businessperson himself, and having guidelines from his party about the process.

“I own up to that. I’ve made a mistake in filing an incorrect return; it was due to a misunderstanding, and I’m sorry for that,” he told reporters today.

MacLeod said earlier that the “mistake was inadvertent”, and that he “mistakenly thought the return was for 2023 only, and the 2022 donations had already been filed.”

1News asked locals in his electorate how they felt, with many appearing unimpressed.

“Why would you go into that sort of work if you’re not going to toe the line?” one woman asked, while another man felt the MP should have been more forthcoming, more quickly.

Another local said: “It’s disappointing, but I’m glad something is being done about it.”

The Electoral Commission is now investigating MacLeod’s revised candidate return and says if they feel he has breached the Electoral Act, they can refer the matter to police.

They expect the investigation to take weeks rather than months, but there is no exact timeframe for it to be completed.

The undeclared donations included 18 candidate donations worth $168,335 received in 2022 when he first became a National candidate, and one donation of $10,000 in 2023.

The New Plymouth MP this morning issued an apology — along with a stern statement from the Prime Minister — after the omission was picked up and corrected.

A release from the National Party today explained that MacLeod “mistakenly failed to declare 19 candidate donations”.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said the party was “taking the matter very seriously”.

The party noticed the “error” last week during the party’s annual consolidation of accounts. MacLeod then conducted a full audit of his own expenses and donations for 2022 and 2023.

MacLeod, a first-term MP, won the New Plymouth seat from Labour in last year’s election.

He said in the party’s statement earlier today: “I signed the return believing it was only meant to cover the 2023 year. This was my mistake and I apologise.

“I had always fully intended for these donations to be made public. I wrote to all the donors indicating that any donations over $1500 would be made public.

“My electorate team had flagged most of the donations with the National Party and the total amount of them was included in my electorate’s financial accounts.

“I am very disappointed in myself. I apologise to my constituents, the National Party, and the New Zealand public. I entered politics to represent my community and make the country a better place and I am still committed to that.”