Department of Internal Affairs, ORFU, Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport, and TTCF

Comment received.

Russell Garbutt
Submitted on 2012/06/26 at 8:38 am

I don’t think that many people realise the significance of the material that Martin Legge has in his possession regarding the activities of the Otago Rugby Football Union, the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport and The Trusts Charitable Foundation.

People who have examined the Acklin budget published on this site may not realise the significance of this particular document, but suffice to say that setting up the machinery and entities so that the proceeds from pokie funds can find their way to activities involving professional sport are illegal. Amongst other things.

What is most significant to me is the unwillingness of DIA to actually do their job. While I have been assured personally by Mr Maarten Quivooy of DIA that they take their roles and responsibilities seriously, it is simply unbelievable that the DIA did not pursue what was, and still is, being offered up to them in terms of hard evidence of illegal activities. They are under no misapprehension of what my views of their investigations are.

The “new” evidence that I have offered to the DIA for the most part is evidence that either was in the public domain – eg the email trail involving Mr Curragh who admitted to using pokie funds generated for one purpose for other purposes – or was simple to obtain. One example of the latter is [from] one former employee of the ORFU who has clear evidence of how the Centre of Excellence and the ORFU conspired to ensure that the trail of pokie funds was obscured. That type of evidence was, as I say, simple to obtain and reporters also have knowledge of that evidence as an example.

Some questions need to be asked by everyone of the DIA as to whether they were “persuaded” not to pursue certain lines of enquiry. Is it true for example as has been reported, that a senior MP had an undue influence on whether the Department did their job? Others need to be asked about the lack of accountability within DIA for ineptness, unwillingness to pursue matters and apparent willingness to accept the pathetic responses of people who were intimately involved with rorts, fraud and other illegal activities. The DIA has stated on more than one occasion that the whole setup in Dunedin “smelled” and the parties “got away with it”.

I believe that the DIA even now should meet Mr Legge to explain why they failed to act in light of overwhelming evidence of illegality and I think that it would be extremely valuable if Mr Legge would post his evidence of how this particular scheme worked.

The DIA say that they now have a major investigation underway but cannot or will not let anyone know the subject of that investigation. Mr Legge has, in the past, been told that his evidence was so good that a slamdunk prosecution was imminent. What happened? Nothing.

I look forward to seeing a more widespread knowledge of how these people in our community did what they did.

Related Post:
22.6.12 Connections: ORFU and local harness racing

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Economics, Media, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

30 responses to “Department of Internal Affairs, ORFU, Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport, and TTCF

  1. Elizabeth

    “There were a whole lot of people and lawyers assisting them who were looking at ways to avoid the law.” -Francis Wevers, former Community Gaming Association executive director

    Pokie recipient turns gamekeeper? The Dunedin City Council could be involved in the future distribution of gambling cash. The full story in Monday’s ODT.

    News in brief (ODT 30.6.12, page 3)
    DIA will take over work formerly carried out by the Charities Commission. The newly established Charities Registration Board would make decisions on organisations seeking to register for charitable status. “From July, the board will also decide on the removal of charitable status from registered charities that fail to met requirements.”

    From what we’ve seen of DIA in relation to the gambling sector this doesn’t bode well.

  2. Calvin Oaten

    It looks like they are formally putting the fox in charge of the chicken house. Could it be that is the best way to close the embarrassing things being exposed, down? Russell Garbutt and Martin Legge have shown conclusively how keen the DIA is for them to simply go away. The ORFU desperately wants it closed down. We have seen a case up north of a show case outing result in a slap on the wrists with a wet bus ticket. It all smacks of political interference to just make the whole sordid business go away. So much for democratic open government.

    • Elizabeth

      Possibly Calvin – however, all the evidence and facts are at hand (across the nation) to be published and that’s where we’re all sitting before ANYONE tries to nail it down and bury it. Then there are the alternatives, no need to list them here. What goes around comes around. As they say.

      Aside, should DCC, via the defamation suit, decide to not touch ORFU’s business past then I guess this would be cause for a major bunfight.

      Warming up.

      • Elizabeth

        Jo Goodhew
        29 June, 2012

        New Charities Registration Board appointed

        Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Jo Goodhew announced today the members of the newly established Charities Registration Board.

        From 1 July, the functions of the former Charities Commission will be undertaken by the Department of Internal Affairs.

        “The new Charities Registration Board will be established on 1 July and will make independent decisions on applications from organisations that wish to register for charitable status,” Mrs Goodhew says.

        “It will also decide the removal of charitable status from registered charities that do not continue to meet the necessary requirements.

        “I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Roger Miller as Chair of the new Charities Registration Board.

        “Mr Miller is a Wellington lawyer and Registered Trustee, whose specialisations include trust law and governance. He chairs the Scots College Foundation and the Porirua City Council Community Services Board and is a trustee of Performing Arts Foundation of New Zealand.”

        The other two members of the Board are:

        Caren Rangi, a chartered accountant and audit specialist from Napier. Ms Rangi has extensive community governance experience and is currently a board member of the Broadcasting Commission (NZ On Air) and a trustee of the Eastern and Central Community Trust.

        Kirikaiahi Albert, a Wellington lawyer with experience in taxation, Treaty settlements and iwi governance. Ms Albert is active in the Māori legal community, Wellington rugby league and international indigenous networks.

        “Together the members bring the skills, experience and diversity necessary to fulfil the independent functions of the Board in a manner that over time will earn the confidence of the charitable sector and the New Zealand public.”

        There will be no substantive changes for registered charities or applicants for registration arising from the transition to the new structure. Access to information about charities on the Charities Register and all the educational guidance developed for charities will continue to be available on the website

        • Elizabeth

          I guess this media statement does not cover the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU), the professional code ? Which is not a charity ? Which has squandered millions of dollars of charitable funds (TTCF et al) for many years to prop up professional rugby, an entertainment business fronting as an incorporated society – and with central government backing over the top of and through the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

          DIA has (under political instruction) allowed white-collar organised crime – fraud – to flourish with its full blessing, despite the wording and intent of the Gambling Act 2003 (see fact sheet).

          Discussion Paper On Registered Charities Released

          Media Statement
          23 April 2012

          Commerce Minister, Craig Foss has released a discussion paper calling for higher levels of transparency and accountability from New Zealand’s largest charities.

          “Charities in New Zealand do excellent work. Most are staffed with volunteers and deserve the donations they receive,” says Mr Foss.

          “The changes under consideration will only affect the largest 20 per cent of charities in New Zealand and leave smaller charities unaffected,” says Mr Foss.

          Registered charities are currently required to include financial statements in their annual return when it is lodged with the Charities Commission. However, there is no requirement for the financial statements to be independently audited or reviewed.

          The discussion paper, Auditing and Assurance for Larger Registered Charities, proposes that charities that spend over $300,000 a year should have their financial statements audited.

          Charities spending between $200,000 and $300,000 would be required to complete an audit or assurance engagement.

          “This paper considers how to make the industry fairer; we don’t want a few organisations damaging the reputation of all New Zealand charities.

          “Charities make a valuable contribution to society and it’s important to get the balance right. They must be transparent and accountable but not subject to too much interference,” says Mr Foss.

          Submissions from interested parties are due by 20 July 2012.

          For more information see the discussion paper: Auditing and Assurance for Larger Registered Charities.

  3. Russell Garbutt

    Folks might be interested in the following small post that I sent to ODT on-line which has, like many others have found, vanished into the ether with no indication of having done so. It makes you wonder why this should be, or more importantly, what ODT sensitivities exist round this issue.

    The small posting was in response to the article about Francis Wevers and pokie funds and the endemic and systemic fraud that he sees going on in the area.

    “Mr Wevers is perfectly correct in his claims regarding the rorts, frauds and corruption endemic in this area of activity. As has been widely reported in articles in the ODT and elsewhere the combination of professional rugby, harness racing, compliant and willing lawyers and accountants, shadowy organisations set up to launder money, and pokie trusts willing to go along with the rorts is endemic. The Department of Internal Affairs is helpless to the point of complicity in policing these criminals and the politicians seem to have been able to look with a blind eye on their friend’s interests. It is more than time for those people – many of whom are well known within this City and elsewhere – to be outed and held accountable for their criminal activities.”

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, let’s see what ODT comes up with tomorrow on DCC as potential gatekeeper of gambling funds. Stand by to be shocked or amazed. I wonder if Sydney Brown has special thoughts about that, what with his professed interests in rugby and harness racing.

      • Elizabeth


        2.10pm @10PARK @southernscoop will we faint on reading ODT’s reporting tomorrow about DCC as potential gatekeeper to gambling finds? #shudder

        2.12pm @southernscoop @10PARK maybe

        2.15pm @10PARK @southernscoop oh dear

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    “…Well known within this City…” and you wonder about sensitivities!

    “Clap hands if you believe in fairness.”
    Acklintertainment presents Panto-4-2day at the Fubar. Make it work – book now, family price $35, empty seats free at the last minute to give the impression of success.

  5. Calvin Oaten

    It all smacks of ‘too little too late’ to me. Not a mention of any retrospective enquiry/penalty actions. All off scot free I suspect, with, in the case of the ORFU, no further worries, as the DCC has undertaken to see to their survival. Poor old ratepayer whacked again I am afraid.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    NZ’s a village, when you get up into the politician/bureaucrat/director/senior-lawyer layer of society. They went to school together or worked together or are related by marriage or go on holiday together or nominate one another to boards where per-day pay is more than a bottom-rung family has for 3 months’ food.

    There used to be honour among thieves. Today police will tell you, most of their tip-offs come from other criminals trying to get some credit, some lessening in charges laid against them or because of a grudge. Today’s honour among however-you-want-to-describe-them is strongest among that splendidly respectable top layer of society.

  7. Peter

    Or had affairs together!

  8. Anonymous

    Corruption loves its corrupt.

  9. Calvin Oaten

    I will be pantless in anticipation of tomorrow’s ODT. Ooops! reword that, I will be panting in anticipation.

  10. Anonymous

    Anyone want to gamble on the horse Smoke & Mirrors crossing the line in the Otago Rugby Times? Winner may win coffee from Syd’s Café*.

    (*Rewards can only be claimed by Stakeholders. Everyone else pays.)

  11. Russell Garbutt

    I certainly don’t doubt that the story is nothing else than the Flavell Bill in the House wants Local Government to be the distributor for pokie funds.

    Now, that is not news at all – what is news is who the key players would be in Local Government, or who have influence over Local Government would be that would support such a clause in such a Bill. As we all know from the various already published revelations, there are key people that I’m sure we can all name who have very keen interests in making sure their interests are maintained by retaining either the status quo or by influencing any future funding decision bodies. Harness racing and rugby seem to really need very large amounts of money to exist and the easiest place to get this cash is from pokies. Rest assured that the key people in these industries might even be prepared to bury the competition between them to ensure that both still retain easy access to the necessary cash. Just think about gangs working together to break into banks.

    I challenge the ODT to come up with these key players, to have the courage to name them, to name the little companies or trusts that are used as bottom drawer entities so we all understand just how they operate. Chances are we are not going to see anything like it.

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    Again “stadium” mentioned, as a meme. Something like “So if the government was aware a council was going to commit to, say building a stadium, it could step in?”.
    [not direct quote, but close to what was asked during the interview]

    • Elizabeth

      Where does DCC really sit with the distribution of pokie grants?

      Under the proposed Gambling (Gambling Harm) Reduction Amendment Bill, pokie proceeds would be distributed to the community from which they were raised, at the lowest electoral level.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 4 Jul 2012
      Bill would see DCC allot gambling proceeds
      By Hamish McNeilly
      One of the biggest recipients of pokie grants in Dunedin – the Dunedin City Council – could be involved in the future distribution of gambling cash. Released figures reveal the council was the second-biggest recipient of pokie grants for the Dunedin area, receiving $1.27 million for the two-year period ending March 31, just behind racing with $1.28 million.
      Read more

  13. Hype O'Thermia

    Perhaps the Department needs a name change – they’re all the rage, you know. Internal Affairs suggests sitting around navel-gazing instead of getting on with work.

    • Elizabeth

      In his report Francis Wevers says (paraphrasing) the Lotteries Commission may not want to be tainted by all that the (rorted) pokies industry represents. Yet here is DCC ‘innocently’ recommending Lotteries as the distributor of pokie funds. Supposing DCC doesn’t want to lose its cash take should it be required to distribute pokie funds under the amendment bill, but what of its partner in crime, ORFU (professional rugby)? How will ORFU continue to source funds to stay alive? DCC’s submission can’t touch that out loud but you have to wonder what vast planning is going on in the background to keep DVML afloat in regard to its ‘tenant’ pending finalisation and acceptance of the bill. Plan A, B, C…

      Released under the Official Information Act

      Options for change in the Class 4 Gambling Sector
      Report by Francis Weavers (January 2011)

      SKMBT_C452 12040316410 (PDF, 557 KB)

  14. Russell Garbutt

    I have now had the opportunity to have a long discussion with Francis Wevers and suffice to say at this stage that he and I share many basic concerns. He is very aware of how these rorts and frauds work, the people involved (nearly all of whom use the threats of defamation), the methods by which these pillars of society use to confuse the DIA and avoid prosecution and most importantly the seriously flawed structure of the whole pokie fund industry – more to come.

  15. Anonymous

    The ODT parrots a lot of Stuff content (and occasionally the other way around) so will we see examples like this appear online or in print, especially with our corrupt council deep under the covers with pokie merchants?

    Breaching act costs pokie operator
    Internal Affairs has cancelled the gambling operator’s licence of a trust which operates 117 gaming machines and provided nearly $3 million in grants in the latest year.

  16. g2-f290f0ae19ebe197bb01e8c796329156

    Also remarkable is that it turns out that the Stadium is possibly not Dunedin’s biggest money pit – with $19 million poured into the pokie machines in Dunedin every year!

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    Difference being that people choose to put their money in the pokies themselves and those who aren’t interested don’t participate.

  18. Hype O'Thermia

    Occurs after people have of their own free will played pokies for some time. The same can’t be said of being over-rated (as a source of easy money to indulge Visions with).
    Addiction’s just one of those risks associated with choice of amusement, like cauliflower ears and brain damage from boxing; frostbite, fractures and death in an avalanche from mountaineering; deafness from prolonged exposure to loud music; becoming avoid-worthy by taking up golf or bridge and telling people who don’t play or ever want to, every detail from the last time you played…….

  19. Gambling for an addict is about as much choice as paying rates. At least the burden of rates are more equitably divided!

  20. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, but what I was trying to say is you don’t automatically get addicted and it doesn’t happen out of the blue without your preliminary choice to participate. And like the other undesirable side-effects of chosen activities, although it may be devastating (as is amputation resulting from frostbite, affecting mountaineers) it doesn’t happen to many of those who choose that way to spend their leisure time. It’s a risk. Unlike the risks of other harms from recreational pursuits it is often portrayed as a special misfortune inflicted upon innocent by calculated malice. Well, it’s calculated that over-all the gamblers lose though here again there are exceptions, though these few anomalies are on fate’s short lucky list.
    Nobody points the finger at mountains for letting their rocks fall on people, or allowing avalanches to bury them.
    Making choices that have unpleasant consequences is the price of freedom. If we were only allowed to make risk-free choices they wouldn’t be much of choices.
    That’s why it’s important that those who lose should improve the necessary facilities in their area, particularly since some areas contribute disproportionately to their resources. Sports facilities for any but children and the rankest amateurs should in my opinion be WAY down the list compared with childcare, budget advisory services, literacy numeracy and plain cooking classes and timely ear health treatment for children so they don’t miss out on the early stages of language learning and keeping up with what’s going on in classrooms and with family and friends. Professional sport — how do I say it louder than this: NO!!!

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