web analytics

Polity: Kohanga Reo trust comes out swinging

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, April 14th, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: Maori Issues - Tags: , ,

the first kohanga reo

The first kōhanga reo set up at Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt, is visited in 1985 by Chief Judge Eddie Durie, then Waitangi Tribunal Chairperson, and Paul Temm QC.

Rob Salmond at Polity comments on the resolutions of the Kōhanga Reo over the weekend.

The Kohanga Reo Trust held a hui over the weekend to discuss the government’s proposals for revamping its financial affairs following revelations of misusing public funds:

The Government in a confidential letter has effectively set an April 30 deadline for the trust to get its plans in order or risk losing its role in dispensing about $80 million in funding to the country’s Kohanga Reo – Maori language preschools.

It follows allegations of mis-spending of public money by the trust’s wholly owned subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga which have now been referred to the Serious Fraud Office.

But at a press conference today after the hui Tukoroirangi Morgan, who has now been removed from the trust by the King, said they had sent a clear message to the Government that it should not interfere.

Three thoughts in response to this:

  1. If the Trust wanted to avoid government interference, perhaps it could have considered a set of financial arrangements that looked less like money laundering;
  2. To avoid government interference, the Trust might also have considered using normal standards to judge whether things like wedding dresses were legitimate Trust expenditure;
  3. Good call by Maori King Tuheitia to remove Tukoroirangi Morgan from the trust at this stage. He doesn’t exactly convey credibility on these issues.

lprent: It’d be a damn shame to lose the good work that the Kōhanga Reo funding is meant to (and mostly is) supporting because some fools at the head office are trying to avoid normal transparent accounting standards that apply to all government funding, or any legitimate organization and business for that matter. Quite simply it is up the Kōhanga Reo Trust to earn the confidence of the taxpayers and the government. To do that they need to make their use of taxpayer funds quite transparent both to the auditors and to their own members.

14 comments on “Polity: Kohanga Reo trust comes out swinging ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    The National Party exists to launder public money. Is this why Parrotty couldn’t see what was wrong with the KRT’s arrangements?

  2. Jim 2

    I understand that the staff member at the Kohanga Reo national office who used the work credit card to purchase her wedding dress has lost her job. This was stated by Derik Fox (Kohunga Reo National Trust spokes person )on 3 news last week. I have heard that there is currently an employment dispute in regards to this, hence there is little being said about it. The National trust has done or is doing an external audit of their subsidiary company.
    It is not clear what the email sent to Hekia Parata, and prompted her to bring in the serious fraud office, actually contains. Shonky when interviewed at the time stated that the information in the email was not substantiated. Derik Fox at the time stated that he was a where of the contents of the email and that the accusations contained in it where not true.
    Since the issues that came to light on Maori TV’s Native Affairs last year the board has moved to consider changes in its structure. For a national Maori organisation this takes time to do properly. The Hui last weekend shows substantial progress is being made.
    So the issue is either about an unsubstantiated email to Hekia Parata or it is a grab by the NATS to control the funding of Kohanga. The inference is that its all right for grossly over funded carter schools but not for a Treaty Of Waitangi hearing verified vastly under funded nation Maori organisation.

    • lprent 2.1

      Good to know. There is a paucity of information.

      But from what has been reported, the most troubling aspect has been the way that the aspect that Rob Salmond said

      If the Trust wanted to avoid government interference, perhaps it could have considered a set of financial arrangements that looked less like money laundering;

      The structure with the Te Pataka Ohanga subsidiary which appears to have either been wholly owned by the KR or completely controlled by the same group as were running the KR is a totally and blatantly obvious accounting / transparency dodge in my view.

      The more that I hear Derek Fox waffle on about how it is a separate entity that happens to make all of its income from the KR, the more suspicious I am of it. The bloody useless terms of reference that Parata “gave” E&Y just looks like a coverup for festering corruption.

      So far I haven’t a single credible explanation about why TPO exists in the first place. Since it it looks like laundering device for taxpayer funds, then it is up to the KR to damn well prove it was not. As far as I’m aware, that is why the attention focused on it.

  3. Jim 3

    Thanks Iprent, I agree that the extent of funds going through Te Paka Ohanga seems odd. Boards that I have been on have used such subsidiary companies to employ and pay employees and little else. The board member for life thing seems very odd to. This structure was set up over 30 years ago and is currently under going a change process. The recommendations from the board to the national hui at the weekend involved both scrapping Te Paka Ohanga and the board member for life thing.

    In the back ground the NKRT was successful in its Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal case last year in proving vast under funding over many years compared to other government funded pre school programmes. The NATS have used this drama to suspend negotiations on this treaty claim. One can only wonder as to why this dirty laundry has come out at this time.

    Given that NKRT will get a substantial compensation and or substantially increased funding as a result of this claim it is appropriate that NKRT has re organises its self into a more transparent structure. It is also understandable that the NATS would move to have more control over these increased funds. Kohunga Reo has always been fiercely independent of government interference and will probably continue to be so.

  4. red blooded 4

    It’s fine to be fiercely independent about learning programmes and cultural identity issues, but all government funded bodies should have transparent accounting structures. That’s one of my (many) criticisms of charter schools – they rake in the money from the public purse and don’t have to account for how they spend it.

    Kōhanga Rēo does fine work; if people can look honestly at their structures and management practices and make any changes needed then they should continue to do fine work.

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    Doesn’t look like a terribly over funded organistion , revenue $12m average salaries from the charity website around the $59000 mark so doen’t look to overcooked there. HO expenses are quite large, close to the salary mark, nothing a decent expenses audit couldn’t sort out. Waitangi claims lawyers fees in there. The trust is audited by KPMG(2012) and consolidates TPO. Structure may be historic, separating charity bit from the operating arm providing services to individual Kohanga reo.
    I’m not so sure why a fairly routine audit over somebody who felt a bit overentitled has been blown up in so many faces.

    • Foreign Waka 5.1

      Because it is taxpayer money and has to be accounted for as any other. Your argument does not hold water as it would be akin to say that it is OK to take your neighbors belongings.

      • RedBaronCV 5.1.1

        Hey FW didn’t mean to give the impression that it is okay to take the neighbour’s belongings – its not.
        Just wondering out loud why this bit of of overentitlement by someone(unfortunately it does happen more often than any of us wish) hasn’t been dealt to on the usual lines of pay it back, move the person along, tighten the systems but has been allowed to run amuck and splatter quite a few people. The procedures for dealing with this sort of thing are usually pretty straightforward and it’s not difficult to see there is a problem. Makes me wonder what we are not being told here.

        • Foreign Waka 5.1.1.1

          All good, I think that it is the T Morgan disease and some people can give an organization or even a whole profession a bad name. The danger with having no checks and balances with tax payer moneys as it seem to be in this case is the slow inserting of backhand favors, fiefdom and corruption further down the line.

  6. Jim 6

    The employee of Kohunga Head Office who used her credit card to purchase her wedding dress has lost her job. So how does RedBaronCV’s comment mean that its OK to take your neighbour’s belongings. Apart from this wedding dress issue all the other spending issues seem to have been explained as legitimate expenses. Once you start debating paying koha rather than consulting fees for work that has been legitimately done you are drawing a very long bow. There has to date been no specific suggestion that TKR Head Office or TPO have lax accountability to Government Financially. There has been generalisations by both Hekia Parata and John Key hinting at financial accountability issues. They are hiding behind the referral to the serious fraud office so as to say nothing. I understand that the serious fraud office is currently looking to see if there is an issue or not. My guess is that some time in the future when all this has died down the serous fraud office will find that there was no grounds for a complaint in the first place.
    So what’s going on here. When a treaty claim is negotiated with government, government like the claim recipient to set up a governance structure of its choosing. Government would prefer a board of political appointments to run the show, like Maori TV. The Maori King has called and hosted a national hui to decide the make up from the flax roots up. Quite democratic eh! This in my view is not about a wedding dress or financial accountability, but rather who controls the governance of Kohunga Reo going forward.

    • Foreign Waka 6.1

      No, this is about money paid by the taxpayer.
      At no stage does it mean that I have to pay for wedding dresses or anything that falls outside infrastructure, agreed social services, insurances etc.

      tax
      Use Tax in a sentence
      tax
      [taks] Show IPA
      noun
      1.
      a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.

      Definition
      A fee charged (“levied”) by a government on a product, income, or activity. If tax is levied directly on personal or corporate income, then it is a direct tax. If tax is levied on the price of a good or service, then it is called an indirect tax. The purpose of taxation is to finance government expenditure. One of the most important uses of taxes is to finance public goods and services, such as street lighting and street cleaning. Since public goods and services do not allow a non-payer to be excluded, or allow exclusion by a consumer, there cannot be a market in the good or service, and so they need to be provided by the government or a quasi-government agency, which tend to finance themselves largely through taxes.

  7. Once you start debating paying koha rather than consulting fees for work that has been legitimately done you are drawing a very long bow.

    A better way of putting it would be “Once you start letting people pay koha with taxpayers’ money, you are creating future corruption scandals.”

    • Jim 7.1

      So Psycho Milt if you where to call the same receipted payment for work legitimately done and auditable, consulting fees rather than koha you would be OK with that.

      • Psycho Milt 7.1.1

        I expect that if they have receipts for what happened to stuff like the thousands in cash withdrawn at petrol stations, the SFO isn’t going to have a lot to do.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago