SFO looking into 'financial irregularities' at Waitangi National Trust

Waitangi National Trust acting chairman Dennis McBrearty said "The matter is now with the SFO and we will await the findings of their official enquiry."

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the Waitangi National Trust after the discovery of "financial irregularities" at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds administrator.

Acting chairman Dennis McBrearty said in a statement that the organisation looked into the issue when it became aware, and that it has now been passed on to the white collar crime investigator, which is making its own inquiries.

"The matter is now with the SFO and we will await the findings of their official enquiry," Mr McBrearty said. "We are unable to comment any further pending the outcome of the SFO enquiry."

The trust was set up by an act of Parliament to administer the 506-hectare Waitangi Treaty Grounds estate with the board to consist of representatives of people directly associated with the site. The Governor General also has the right to be patron of the trust.

The trust's last lodged accounts with the Charities Register were for the year ended June 30, 2015, which showed it cash and term deposits totalling $7.4 million. That year it received government grants of about $1.4 million and a further $2.6 million from community organisations.

Legislation governing the trust board was updated in 2015 to remove Crown representatives as formal members of the board. When introducing amendment legislation in 2014, former Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson said the board's responsibilities went beyond simple maintenance of the site and that the legislative changes coincided with plans to upgrade the existing visitor services and promote it as a tourist attraction.

(BusinessDesk)


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Well, that's certainly not going to help Waitangi Day retrieve itself from the vastly negative sentiment surrounding it. A few notable Sirs on the Trust Board there as well.

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I understand that the seriously flawed office aren't interested in cases were less than $2 Million is involved so could be pretty serious matter or perhaps the SFO don't consider Joe public's identification of potential frauds of lesser amounts but possibly the tip of the iceberg relevant and claiming lack of resources is a whitewash.

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Not surprised.

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Supplying taxpayer funding for these so called Trusts needs to stop. Why do they even exist at all?

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One name is missing here - Pita Paraone. Paraone has been Chairman of the Trust since 2009 but has, seemingly, evaporated. Trawling through the net and the Trust's own websites draws a blank when trying to determine when, why or how Paraone suddenly became, well, not the Chairman.
Similarly, nowhere to be found are the circumstances surrounding Dennis McBrearty's appointment as "Acting" Chairman. At time of writing, the Board's (photographic) profiles still show McBrearty as Deputy Chairman but . . . . no sign of the Chairman. Airbrushed out?
(Edited)

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Why the surprise? Didn't you know that anything goes here in the wild west that our business people operate in.

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Mr Paraone lost his seat on the Trust when he lost his parliamentary seat in the September election. The seat he held is reserved for a member of the Opposition. The Trust is not funded by the taxpayer, by the way. It is largely self-funding.

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Taxpayer money is the easiest rort going.

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Uh-ohhh..... who's driving the new Range Rover, then?

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