Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, March 31st, 2013 - 61 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, corruption, crime, democracy under attack, greens, same old national - Tags: pokies, problem gambling foundation
How deep does it go?
Steve Kilgallon, in today’s Stuff, is reporting that evidence of wrong doing by Pokie trusts, presented to Internal Affairs mysteriously went missing. The article, perhaps necessarily because of lack of evidence, provides the most positive slant on the disappearance, putting it down to sloppiness.
Internal Affairs investigators lost a vital file in their own office for nearly two years – and delivered a report on the allegations it contained by incorrectly guessing at its contents….
Legge handed over thousands of documents between September and November 2010 that provided a series of revelations about his former employer, Trusts Charitable Foundation (now Trusts Community Foundation).
In June 2012, dismayed at the department’s failure to act on his information, Legge asked for their return. Documents released under the Official Information Act show the request prompted a scramble in the department to find one particular file.
The query bounced around seven staff and one email simply said: “So where is the file?”
When it was found, the original investigator, David Bermingham, who was removed from the case in late 2010, was flown from Christchurch to Wellington solely to confirm it was the right one. “It was like they had just found it on someone’s desk,” Bermingham told the Sunday Star-Times.
Bermingham said he had long suspected the file was missing. “It became evidently clear that they didn’t have the file . . . I’m very confused how they were able to conduct an investigation without that file, certainly not a thorough one.”
It is all a bit murky. But back in November 2010 shortly after the investigation began, Graeme Ramsey of the Problem Gambling Foundation predicted there was more evidence of abuse of the funding of Pokies trusts to come.
Graeme Ramsey, Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, says this will address the issue of the blatant misuse of pokie money by people held in positions of trust that is rife in New Zealand.
“Year after year, the number of cases involving the misuse of pokie funds is outstanding. People who are trusted with the distribution of large sums of public money continue to flout the law, and it is the community that is deprived of valuable funding for worthy causes,” he says.
Graeme Ramsey says there are around 50 pokie trusts operating in New Zealand and anyone can set them up.
“This makes monitoring extremely difficult and, as we have seen from the frequent stories in the media, leaves the system open to abuse,” he says….
Graeme Ramsey says there are too many ‘snouts in the trough’ of public money and enough is enough.
“We have seen cases this year where large sums of public money have been spent on entertainment for trustees, refurbishment of venues, and other payments that the Secretary of Internal Affairs described as inappropriate and unlawful,” he says.
Graeme Ramsey says this certainly won’t be the last time we hear of the misappropriation of pokie funds by trustees as there is more to come.
It seems like some in the pokie industry have a lot of influence and a long reach. Some in this industry benefited from John Key and Steven Joyce’s SkyCity convention centre deal. The deal was made through flawed processes, as argued by the Green Party:
The pokies-for-convention centre deal should be scrapped after the Deputy Auditor General confirmed minsters did wrong over the deal, and were not completely vindicated as the Prime Minister has claimed, the Green Party said today.
“Deputy Auditor General Phillippa Smith today confirmed to a select committee that she found Government ministers at fault in her damning inquiry into the SkyCity deal, contradicting John Key’s claims that the report “completely vindicated” his Government,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said…
“Ms Smith confirmed that she found that both officials and Ministers had not followed good process in the Expressions of Interest process which she found favoured SkyCity right from the start.
“She confirmed that SkyCity was the least preferred of all the bidders for the convention centre at the start, and that it wasn’t till ministers staff and officials exclusively worked with the casino on their bid – including working up ideas to increase gambling opportunities – that SkyCity emerged at the end of the process the favoured option.
The end result of this flawed process was a deal that would include an increase in SkyCity pokie machines. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of children are left unattended around SkyCity’s gambling areas.
Significant International Affairs files going missing, deals made through flawed government processes.
So NZ is not a corrupt country, then, just one governed through sloppy processes?