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Push for inquiry into use of Government grants

23 November 2004

Katherine Rich MP - National Party Social Services Spokeswoman

Push for inquiry into use of Government grants

National Party Social Services spokeswoman Katherine Rich has written to two Government Ministers requesting an urgent inquiry into the Manukau Outrigger Canoeing Whare Nui Trust.

“Given that this is in Police and Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins’ own backyard - I’m sure he will be as determined as I am to make sure this organisation is using public money correctly,” says Mrs Rich.

She has written a joint letter to George Hawkins and the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Rick Barker, who has responsibility for the Community Organisation Grants Scheme.

The trust has received more than $5000 from COGS, and more than $40,000 from the Lotteries Commission. The police are already investigating.

“I am concerned by reports that some of the trust’s money has been used to pay for personal costs such as home renovations and car repairs,” says Mrs Rich in her letter.

“I understand that this trust also received funding from its local council and from other charitable organisations, such as the Lion Foundation. I am sure those organisations are asking similar questions about the use of donations to the trust.

“Taxpayers need to be assured that their money has been spent wisely on community benefits and not squandered for the sake of personal benefit.

“Without a thorough investigation of the relevant grants that fall within both your portfolios, you are not in a position to offer those assurances,” the letter concludes.

ENDS

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