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Revocation Of Trust's Right To Run Lotteries

Trust's Silence Leads To Revocation Of Right To Run Lotteries

The Department of Internal Affairs has revoked a Maori trust's right to run lotteries and is warning the public to watch out for illegal lottery tickets.

The action follows the refusal of a Wellington-based trust, Te Ao Hou Whanaungatanga, to supply information so that the department can audit its activities.

Roughly translated Te Ao Hou Whanaungatanga means "relationship with the modern world". The trust says it organises raffles and sells the tickets to help struggling Maori.

Revoking a trust's right to run lotteries is a rare step and the department says it has done so because repeated attempts to get information from Te Ao Hou Whanaungatanga have drawn a blank.

Incorporated on June 26 this year under Section 34 of the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 the trust has been selling $3 raffle tickets outside big supermarkets and in shopping malls throughout New Zealand. The tickets offer a $500 grocery voucher as the prize and the raffle, according to the ticket, is drawn under police supervision.

Its ticket sellers wear identification and usually work in pairs. They have been reported by the public in Kilbirnie, Porirua, Johnsonville, Levin, and in several Auckland shopping areas. Few winners have received their prizes and when they try to claim them the organiser's telephone number printed on the ticket has been disconnected.

The department's senior inspector gaming compliance Martin Legge says it can't be verified whether the stated purpose of the raffle is really in a good cause.

"We think the money may be being used for the accommodation and travel of the group as it moves around the country selling the tickets," he says. "We want to audit this trust but we can't do that till the trust hands us the documents we need. So far there's been no attempt to do this.

"We're keeping the police informed. Revoking their right to sell tickets means they can't sell any more under Section 34 of the Act. If they do a prosecution could ensue."

The department is warning the public not to buy the trust's raffle tickets and urging anyone with information about the trust to contact Garth Cherrington at its head office in Wellington on 0800 257887.


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