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Damming police report on THOTT

Phil Heatley National MP for Whangarei

19 February 2003

Damming police report on THOTT

National says a damming police report that found Te Hau Ora O Te Taitokerau social service agency mismanaged taxpayer money, shows the Government failed to monitor funding to the agency.

"While there are no charges being laid, the report confirms the agency spent $100,000 of taxpayers money on a shonky investment scheme, $20,000 on gym equipment purchased from a family member's business, and $25,000 on an overseas trip.

"This is a gross misuse of taxpayers' money that was supposed to be going into delivering social services to the people of the north.

"The chief executive of Te Hau Ora O Te Taitokerau (THOTT) also had a ridiculously generous contract, including five weeks annual study leave and a travel and accommodation budget of $15,000 - a staggering amount for a small organisation.

"It is very worrying that THOTT was receiving millions of dollars of taxpayers money when there was no documentation showing where the money was spent.

Late last year Children Young Persons and Families Service (CYFS) undertook to recover $1.7 million of taxpayers money in relation to THOTT.

"When CYFS became worried about poor service by THOTT, it gave THOTT 60 days to provide a budget of its finances. Yet it took six months for CYFS to terminate the contracts, giving THOTT ample opportunity to spend more money.

"The Government must give the public an assurance that this is not continuing to happen today elsewhere, and that funding going to schemes like this will now be accounted for. "CYFS and the Ministers involved in feeding this organisation money which was wasted must front up as to why they allowed this to happen," Mr Heatley said.


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