The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union can reveal that Quit Group is holding 2.8 million taxpayer dollars, despite losing its government contract in 2015.
Taxpayers Union spokesperson Islay Aitchison says, "In 2016, the Ministry of Health asked Quit Group to spend the funding supporting the 2025 Smokefree goal. Taxpayers are now losing out on services because MoH didn't negotiate any enforceable timelines."
"Worse still, the directors of Quit Group continue to pay themselves $72,000 annually in fees. One of those directors is Chris Cunningham, who was recently investigated for running up a $128,000 travel bill as a director of the Hepatitis Foundation."
"Quit Group should be referred to Charities Services, so the money can be reclaimed. And Chris Cunningham should be discredited from all four of his taxpayer-funded positions."
"Finally, revelations like this show how urgently taxpayer-funded charities need to be subject to the Official Information Act, so taxpayers can have more transparency of where their money is ending up."
Background information, and the Ministery's response to the Official Information Act request filed by Taxpayers' Union, is available at www.taxpayers.org.nz/quit_group