Wetex Kang, the Maori Party candidate standing in the Botany electorate in the General Election this month, is not commenting about allegations he offered online cash credits to potential supporters.
The Electoral Commission confirmed to the Times it is investigating the allegations.
“The Electoral Commission has received complaints about the use of “hong bao dollars” on WeChat as part of Maori Party candidate Wetex Kang’s campaign,” a spokesperson for the Commission said.
“The Commission is looking into the complaints, and has sought further information from Mr Kang.”
Mr Kang told the Times any comment would “just have to wait until the investigation is over and I will announce a press release”.
Radio New Zealand reported a message from Mr Kang’s campaign was sent to about 200 potential supporters, costing about $30 in total, or 15 cents in credit to each person.
“People on WeChat can send messages without any credits attached, but the practice of sending credits is based on the Chinese system of hong bao, or red envelope, where money is given to family and friends as a gift,” RNZ said.
“The Maori Party said it was helping the Electoral Commission with its inquiries.”
Mr Kang is the first Asian candidate to stand for the Maori Party.