Monday, August 10, 2015

Mike Butler: Couple blow treaty cash


Two Tauranga marae trustees admitted stealing at least $20,000 of treaty settlement cash and blowing some of it at casinos - but no-one told police, according to a report in the Sunday Star Times.
The couple have admitted spending the money, meant for renovations at the Waimapu Marae in Tauranga, at SkyCity Casino in Auckland, Riverside Casino in Hamilton and bars around Tauranga.
There is also evidence of spending at service stations, KFC, Pizza Hut, cafes and department stores. 
The bank accounts involved had about $109,000 in them, but most of that is gone. 
Trustee Lance Waaka, who blew the whistle on the Harrisons, said there was only about $400 left in the accounts. The Harrisons, both 63 and sickness beneficiaries, said about $50,000 was spent removing dozens of large trees from the marae grounds and building new fences. 
They admitted they had also given money to whanau members who hadn't paid it back. 

The Maori Land Court judge, Stephen Clark, said in a judgment that as well as 44 Eftpos withdrawals at casinos, pubs and bars which the Harrisons had admitted, there were a number of other withdrawals warranting further investigation. 
Describing it as a "pattern of criminal offending", the judge said a proper forensic inquiry was needed to ascertain the true level of the theft, and that inquiry was best carried out by police. 
But Waaka said he was unsure if he would lay a complaint, as the Harrisons had already been humiliated. (1)
Waimapu Marae is not the first entity to have treaty settlement cash go missing. “Bad investments and bailouts” have wiped almost half the value off Taupo tribe Tuwharetoa’s $66-million share of the “Treelord’s” treaty settlement in 2013. (2)

The previous year, Taranaki's Ngati Tama reported it lost its $14.5-million payout it received in 2003, also in “bad investments”.(3)

When Ngati Tama announced its loss, Maori entitlements commentator Morgan Godfery wrote: “Indeed, if the government knew a tribe’s settlement was close to collapsing, and did nothing, then the government would be liable for a contemporary breach of the treaty under the partnership and active protection principles.” (4)

Problems frequently arise from the meeting of large amounts of windfall cash and people in need of financial skills.

A number of deals in this current round of treaty settlements seek to repair the unintended consequences of big payments made between 1944 and 1958, and those settlements were in response to cash that disappeared after land was sold in the 19th century.

Sources
1. Couple blow Treaty money on casinos, bars, Pizza Hut and KFC, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/70709144/Couple-blow-Treaty-money-on-casinos-bars-Pizza-Hut-and-KFC
2. Bailouts, bad ventures halve Treelord cash, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8733676/Bailouts-bad-ventures-halve-Treelord-cash
3. Iwi loses most of treaty payout, http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6753899/Iwi-loses-most-of-Treaty-payout
4. Should the government guarantee settlements? http://mauistreet.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/should-government-guarantee-settlements.html

6 comments:

Ray S said...

Another bail out in the wind ?

Anonymous said...

WHY DOES THE TAX PAYER HAVE TO BEAR THE BRUNT OF ALL THIS WASTAGE/PILFERAGE. THE PAYOUT MONEY COMES FROM SOMEWHERE, AND THE PREVIOUS AND SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS ALSO HAVE TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

Mike Mather said...

Oh! so it's the pakeha's fault again is it?
Spoilt child, action and consequences come to mind here.

Isabel Hutchinson said...

The worst example of this gross dishonesty is that of the iwi "leader" of Ngati Tama of Taranaki. He misappropriated the entirety of the iwi's $14.5 million & so far as I know, has made no apology to the iwi members for being the greedy wastrel that he (along with his family) is. His father was the only listed shareholder (as I recall). See Ngati Tama Custodian Trust at NZ Companies office.

Laurent Hastie. said...

New Zealand has become more racist by the day and this continues with special treatment for the part Maori. Past and present governments are mostly to blame for this situation we now find ourselves in with a them and us mindset that further divides the people. To be honest the govt should apply to be registered with the United Nations as a Racist State. An old quote but I have changed it here thus; Racism and injustices prevail when good people stand aside and do nothing.

Dave said...

Never mind , just ask for some more money.... example the Maori King asking for compensation for all of Auckland even though that treaty settlement has already been paid... and on it goes . Key and Finlayson ... told you so.