Martin Legge: DIA audit criticism #pokierorts #coverup

Comment received from Martin Legge
Sunday, 18 November 2012 5:41 p.m.

In 2007, the National Party criticised the Labour Government following a damning report by the Office of the Auditor General into DIA’s regulation of the pokie industry. The boot has been on the other foot for four years, and yet do we hear calls from anyone in the Labour Party, particularly in Dunedin?

Press Release [2007]
Auditor-General slams Internal Affairs over gaming says National Party MP

Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker must act now to address the criticisms of his department over its failure to effectively control the operation of non-casino gaming machines, says National Party Internal Affairs spokeswoman Sandra Goudie.

The Controller and Auditor-General, Kevin Brady, today released his report Department of Internal Affairs: Effectiveness of controls on non-casino gaming machines.

The report shows the department’s policies and procedures do not comply with the Gambling Act 2003 and includes 17 recommendations for change.

“The department’s own ‘comprehensive licensing manual’ outlines policies and procedures that do not comply with the Act and shows licensing staff were issuing and renewing licenses without delegated authority.

“The report also found that the department’s audit checklist and manual were not consistent with the Act, and information was missing from the department’s risk profile rating of operators.

“This report shows a department clearly out of touch with its key role and clearly being ignored by the Minister.

“How could the Minister have let his department get into such a state where any old staff member can approve a licence?

“Its [sic] no wonder eyebrows have been raised over the department’s inability to get convictions of operators in breach of the Act.

“It is time Mr Barker gave his department some much needed ministerial direction.”

Audit Report from Kevin Brady
14 February 2007

Department of Internal Affairs: Effectiveness of controls on non-casino gaming machines.

I felt it timely to review the effectiveness of controls on non-casino gaming machines because of the large amount of money placed in the machines (estimated by the Department of Internal Affairs at more than $8,500 million annually), the potential for the machines to cause harm in the form of problem gambling, the amount of funds from the machines going to clubs and the wider community, and a relatively new legislative framework covering gambling.

The Department of Internal Affairs administers controls on non-casino gaming machines. My review focused on three main areas of controls. These were the controls on licensing of non-casino gaming machine operators and venues, on operator and venue costs, and on the distribution and application of funds to the community including through grants.

I found that the Department of Internal Affairs has extensive policies and procedures for licensing and auditing of venues and operators, and a risk-based approach to compliance. However, there were areas of its policies, procedures, and practice that did not meet all of the requirements of the Gambling Act 2003. These included its procedure for renewing licences and for auditing. I also found that its licensing staff were issuing and renewing licences without the necessary delegated authority. The Department has committed to rectifying this issue, and had largely done so at the time this report was being finalised.

While the Department of Internal Affairs has committed to comprehensively monitoring the outcomes being achieved in the non-casino gaming machine industry, it is not yet doing this in a systematic or comprehensive manner. This limits the Department’s ability to demonstrate the results of its work and refine the way it works to achieve better outcomes.

I thank staff in the Department of Internal Affairs for their assistance, responsiveness, and co-operation during the audit. I also thank people in the industry who generously gave their time and views during the audit.

The Department has been very engaged in, and supportive of, the audit process. Its commitment to implementing the audit findings to make improvements is pleasing.

K B Brady
Controller and Auditor-General


Recent Posts:
13.11.12 Martin Legge replies to Sunday Star-Times story #DIA #coverup
11.11.12 Department of Internal Affairs #pokierorts #coverup #TTCF

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Economics, Media, Name, People, Politics

29 responses to “Martin Legge: DIA audit criticism #pokierorts #coverup

  1. Elizabeth

    Wakem is frustrated that in a country where there is no mafia, and nobody would come around to kneecap or murder a person for whistleblowing, the “weapon” of protected disclosures is not used more.

    ### Last updated 07:26 25/11/2012
    ‘Whistleblowers need protection’
    By Rob Stock – Sunday Star Times
    In the light of the Pike River tragedy, the chief ombudsman is calling for a review of how workers can lift the lid on corrupt or dangerous practices. New Zealand’s underused whistleblower protection act is not working and needs to be reviewed says Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem. There is soul-searching in the Office of the Ombudsman as to why no-one connected to Pike River blew the whistle on the poor safety standards at the mine where 29 people died when methane ignited there in November 2010. Wakem has not been able to come up with an answer. “I don’t actually know, to be perfectly honest,” she says. But she believes it is time to find out. The office is the place where whistleblowers should go to lift the lid on wrongdoing and serious threats to safety. The trouble is, it just isn’t happening. Wakem says it is time for a review of the Protected Disclosure Act, the law protecting “employees” of companies and agencies.
    Read more

  2. Martin Legge

    I’ve seen it all – Maarten Quivooy now has his senior manager including DIA CEO Colin MacDonald and Group Manager Paul James sanctioning more letters out to the Dunedin Community containing misleading information and half truths so desperate are they to hose down concerns about their investigation into ORFU and the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport involving millions of dollars of community funds.

    It comes hot on the heals of DIA Investigator, Dave Bermingham, the man responsible for the TTCF/ORFU and Jokers investigations publicly stating that the TTCF investigation was a cover up following political. contact.

    Bermingham was a tenacious, well regarded investigator and he knew the evidence of this entire case backwards. It was he who convinced us to become whistleblowers but it came with backing of management. He advised Management were united and wanted us to provide the ammo against TTCF.

    In late Nov 2010, DIA advised their own Minister, Nathan Guy, that they had validated some of the evidence and documents and based on the content of documents were likely to issue TTCF with a notice to cancel their Gambling Operators Licence. So what changed their minds?

    MP Peter Dunne contacted Nathan Guy and senior DIA. Another investigator warned us that Dunne’s contact with DIA had resulted in all hell breaking lose within senior DIA management who were now running around like headless chooks.

    Then suddenly, DIA couldn’t do enough for TTCF. Bermingham was sidelined and it was suggested the whistleblowers may have an axe to grind.

    The most serious issues contained in the evidence such as the conspiracy between ORFU and TTCF, Murray Acklin and Mike O’Brien, the $2.6 million dollar budget from Jokers Bars, the “fake contract” provided to Bermingham by TTCF trustees in 2009, were no longer important and were never raised with us again and their very mention was excluded from the DIA investigation report that took 18 months to complete.

    DIA hold themselves up as an “independent regulatory body” – supposedly free from political interference but as we have seen with many Government departments lately, political expediency and influence take precedence over whistleblowers, evidence, or upholding the law and order. Such things become inconvenient.

    It also provides the reason why this government agency DIA has been allowed to continue to issue misleading information and diversion tactics without any concern or intervention from its last three Ministers, Nathan Guy, Amy Adams, and now, Chris Tremain.

    DIA want you to believe the pokie industry hinges on court prosecutions that have a two-year time limitation. Again false – look at the last two cases involving Infinity Foundation and Grassroots Trust. Neither were prosecuted but both had their licenses cancelled/suspended for activities well beyond two years ago.

    • Elizabeth

      Having seen some of the letters, I support Martin’s view.

      I’ll start small by saying Maarten Quivooy of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) should no longer have a job in the public service.

      Alongside Quivooy, those above him in rank should be put on the stand.

      I realise DIA monitor this website – if you’re reading this senior DIA people, I’m serious. Your actions condone multimillion-dollar rorts and money laundering by the white collar criminals residing in our New Zealand community. As individuals you’re as guilty as those who seek to defraud. You should be severely tested in a New Zealand court of law – and prosecuted to all hell.

    • Elizabeth

      ### Last updated 05:00 02/12/2012
      Trustee guilty of pokie fraud
      By Steve Kilgallon

      For the first time, despite a long history of pokie rorts, a trustee has been convicted of criminal offending.

      Shane Cosgrave, a former publican, will serve seven months’ home detention after pleading guilty to stealing almost $364,000 of gaming funds – an amount reduced when the Crown dropped charges that had originally seen him charged with stealing the entire $975,000 in charitable funds meant for South Auckland communities. Cosgrave, 66, owes the Department of Internal Affairs $975,000 after a civil judgment against him but will almost certainly never pay it back after a court heard he was living in near-poverty. While he is the first trustee to be convicted of pokie fraud, the history-making decision has dismayed others in the gaming industry. Southern Trust chief executive Karen Shea called the sentence “really light, considering the community essentially missed out on nearly $1 million. Cosgrave had the benefit of all that money and I was disappointed a stronger message wasn’t sent out”.
      Read more

      ● Last week, charges against prominent Hawke’s Bay businessman Rodney Green were thrown out by the Napier Court, bewildering the department [DIA].

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    “DIA want you to believe the pokie industry hinges on court prosecutions that have a two-year time limitation. Again false – ” writes Martin Legge. I expect the assortment of rules in this, that and the other Act are like the Bible, if you look hard enough you can find “proof” to back up anything you want. You just have to rely on nobody else being able to quote the passage that contradicts the one that’s in your favour.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    So what about the ‘Serious Fraud Office’? Would it not be the body to investigate, and if required, take the necessary action? If it was presented with the whole plethora of information available from all the people who have ridden this ‘disgusting episode’ for years, wouldn’t it be bound to take notice? If a case was put to it and it ignored, or smoothed it over then that would be proof positive (as if that were needed) of the corruption pervading our governing bodies, not just Central Government, but including the Dunedin City Council / Otago Rugby Football Union.

  5. Calvin Oaten

    Could this just be a token effort in order to allay pressures from other quarters. If so, the DIA are not very sophisticated about it. Cosgrave is made the ‘fall guy’ because he ‘muffed’ it and is in no position to cause any further bother. He is broke. Meanwhile the real ‘shysters’ get away with it. Disgusting!!

  6. Peter

    Though one advantage, Calvin, is that pressure can be applied by pointing out double standards where one set of standards is used against the fall guy and not being applied to others.Further questions-and pressure- can be be applied… and it goes on till justice is finally served.

  7. Martin Legge

    Readers may recall that following the demise of the ORFU and subsequent revelations they had received millions through their interest in 3 South Auckland pokie bars, ORFU Manager Jeremy Curragh, admitted to the ODT that grants from TTCF had not been used for the correct purposes but instead used to pay creditors. This resulted in an outcry and assurances from DIA that they would act. This is how they dealt with it.

    Email dated 15 June 2012: From Kevin Finnegan, South Island Manager of Gambling Compliance to : Warwick Hodder, General Manager of TTCF Re: ORFU/TTCF.

    “Just to clarify we need to be able to close down complaints about funds being used to pay creditors, other then what was applied for etc etc. Thus I will be looking for TTCF to confirm that Grant Funds were used for the stated.” purpose and where they were they have received a refund.

    Hodder’s reply:

    “We are both on the same page Kevin. The Grants Office managed to get ORFU to scan advance copies of all accountability documents yesterday and found that there were one or two items that the union missed when assessing the amount of the refund. They have agreed to refund whatever figure we come up with.”

    Looks to be a very cosy relationship between Hodder and DIA’s Mr Finnegan. Finnegan seems more intent on shutting down genuine public complaints rather than properly investigating them. This softly softly approach occurred while DIA were in possession of documentary evidence written by Hodder as to how to deceive DIA over ORFU’s involvement with Jokers and the multi-million dollar grants they obtained.

    DIA prefer pokie trusts over genuine community concern !!!

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    So much for NZ’s reputation of very little corruption. So much fuss from Prime Minister to talkback to commentators about whether we are really “clean, green” enough. So little about how our standing in the least-corrupt countries is looking, and how much longer it can be kept comfortably out of view.

  9. Anonymous

    “we need to be able to close down complaints about funds”… Martin, it is amazing what some of these culprits commit to email. Based on your examples on this site alone, there must be the sort of messages that excite lawyers stored on their mail servers. And many companies, particularly government, are required to store mail effectively indefinitely, long after the executive presses delete.

    You just can’t shred and burn the paperwork today. The storage method has changed but the self-important attitude hasn’t – I believe that’s how a few of the culprits in Dunedin council companies are going to get caught out.

  10. Calvin Oaten

    Martin; you are a legend! Surely, all your “stuff” plus Russell’s and Bev’s must be sufficient to present to the ‘Serious Fraud Office’? It is only from an office like that from which justice can come. No DIA person is going to instigate anything like a genuine enquiry. No politician will initiate it either (witness Peter Dunne’s limp piece) as it could jeopardise their fortunes. The ORFU most certainly won’t encourage any movement. In DCC’s case a glorious opportunity to open the whole thing up was “muffed” by mayor Dave Cull not taking the defence of his defamation case lodged by Laurie Mains and Wayne Graham through the courts. One would have to wonder just how high up this goes. In the end it will come out, these things always do.

  11. Calvin Oaten

    After reading the David McGee comments on the Education Ministry’s botch up of the proposed re-organisation of Christchurch schools I can’t help but feel that there is a serious sickness developing/ ed within our governmental services. First, there is the DIA and the gaming industry, which brought to light the evil doings in own city of Dunedin, via rugby. Then the OAG has been found to be less than diligent in its activities. The PwC report showed how we had been (and are) hoodwinked by our council over the stadium costings. The DOL and its derelictions within in the mining industry, as shown in the Pike River Mining Tragedy. What next, we might well ask. Then there is the local body stuff which develops by the day. I personally cringe every time I see our politicians in parliament and the blackguarding of the suggestion of raising the minimum wage from $13.50/hr to $15/hr followed by the revelation of their own substantial income adjustment backdated to July last. The Prime Minister, to me now looks like a mask with falseness marked all over him. He has inculcated that cold attitude throughout his ministry, with none more resembling a “hatchet man” than Stephen Joyce in his handling of the Hillside decimation. Neo-conservatism has been tried and found seriously wanting and should have been buried with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Roger Douglas. Alas, with National, it is still alive and well, as NZ marches on to the destruction of the lower and middle classes’ quality of life. Greed is the order of the day now for those that control it. Not a good time to be young in this ‘little old God’s own’. 2014 before the next election, but then do any of the others fill one with confidence? It’s called democracy, where we are led to believe that having an individual vote gives the people what they want. In fact it gives them what they deserve, nothing more, nothing less.

  12. Martin Legge

    In May 2012, Russell Garbutt contacted DIA Minister, Chris Tremain with his genuine concerns on the lack of action over his complaint about the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport (COE) – an organisation set up by ORFU as a means to obtain $1.2 million in pokie funds.

    Russell was flown to Wellington at taxpayer expense to have morning tea with Maarten Quivooy, Debbie Despard and Kevin Finnegan, the 3 senior figures in the TTCF/ORFU investigation.

    “What if” readers may recall that the first grant application of $500,000 from TTCF to COE was so that ORFU could complete the purchase of the Jokers bars from two Auckland Businessmen. You may also recall how TTCF’s General Manager, Warwick Hodder, requested ORFU’s Business Manager, Neville Frost, remove his name from the application in case DIA got wind of ORFU involvement.

    At the morning tea with DIA, it was suggested the investigation was made more difficult because they could not locate the COE grant application in question.

    Back in 2010, Russell and I were unaware of each other’s concerns in respect of TTCF and ORFU but since then our paths have crossed and I think it is fair to say we are being hoodwinked by senior officials of a Government Regulator.

    I say this because I have a copy of the $500k grant application from the COE. I didn’t retain it for the hell of it but because I was asked to by DIA way back in September 2010, the very time they were aware of Russell’s concerns.

    The application and the accountability for the COE grant has got John Spicer, Ron Palenski and Kereyn Smith’s signatures all over it. DIA have never asked us for these records since.

    Russell, I think it is time you went back to Chris Tremain just as Quivooy encouraged you to do.

  13. Russell Garbutt

    I think that Chris Tremain is as useless and compromised as the people at DIA. It was made clear to me by the DIA that any letters to Tremain would be answered by the monkeys in the Department. This has been proven to be true.

    What is patently clear is that the DIA simply don’t want to do the job that they are employed to do. Equally clear is that the DIA lie to protect themselves. Equally clear is that a lot of other regulatory authorities like the NZ Police simply choose to ignore major fraud despite evidence being handed to them on a plate.

    The big question to ask is who exactly is willing to prosecute those people who have clearly broken the law and stolen millions of dollars from the pokie industry, and the public?

    There is no doubt in my mind that enough clear evidence exists of widespread fraud and the people mentioned in Martin’s post know exactly what went down and what role they played in the whole sorry sordid business.

    What everyone that reads these posts must accept is that white collar crime is endemic in this country and seems to be able to treated with ignore by those employed to fight it.

    What is perhaps the biggest problem is public apathy. The public see an idiot rob a dairy and demand accountability and punishment, but can’t see the businessman rip the same society off for millions and get away with it.

  14. Calvin Oaten

    With the comprehensive dossiers Russell and Martin have, I can’t believe that the Serious Fraud Office wouldn’t take notice. It has shown recently that it is getting serious with many of the financial company frauds that have extorted $millions from unsuspecting folk. Why not give them a go? At least it would prove the point one way or another.
    Russell, I think that is the answer to your ‘Big Question’.

    • Elizabeth

      Quite apart from Criminal Law….

      What is Natural Justice?
      13/04/2012 | Posted by Peter Smith [Auckland lawyer]
      The words “natural justice” have specific meaning in the law. Natural justice comprises two rules, the rule against bias and the rule of the right to a fair hearing. Because of the necessity of maintaining public confidence in the legal system – which includes not only the courts but all public decision making bodies, it is most important that people who are engaged in these processes feel that they have had a fair hearing and that there has been no bias.

      Bias can take the form of actual bias or imputed or apparent bias. Actual bias is where it can be established that the person making a decision was prejudiced for or against a party. If the decision maker had a monetary, proprietary or personal interest in the matter then bias may be imputed. Apparent bias is when the conduct or behaviour of the decision maker suggests that their decisions are not impartial.

      [my emphasis]

  15. Rob Hamlin

    It’s a difficult thing to tackle as the main issue is that most people just don’t see this as stolen money. The people willingly put the money into the machines in the pubs, or it can be argued that they do. Most charities that would really qualify for the term simply won’t touch the residue that comes out of the other end of the process after the bars, pokie trusts/companies, professional sports and other middle/upper class recreational/self-improvement activities have taken their cut. They do not do so because they have already made the calculation that these funds have already done more harm to their target communities than they could ever rectify through the deployment of their minority ‘cut’.

    While a handful of professional recipient organisations take the lion’s share of pokie proceeds, they are surrounded and protected by a legion of middle class small fry recipients of this largesse from the most deprived areas of society. The grants to these middle class recipients are generally very small, but they are very numerous – sports clubs, cultural groups and schools – sometimes only a couple of hundred bucks buys a dozen or more well educated and influential ‘converts’ to the system.

    While I loathe pokies, I am part of the problem. Over the last ten years I have sat on the governing bodies of at least three organisations that have taken grants from gaming trusts/companies. Only recently have I changed from registering an objection and abstaining on motions to apply for funds to actually voting against the acquisition of these monies. It would be fair to say that I have been alone in most cases, and that the position to even abstain has gone down like a bucket of warm sick – often among groups of people who profess to be socially sensitive.

    This system has been sold in this manner and in no uncertain manner to the middle classes of the middle ground, and these are exactly the people who National, Labour and Winston have to stay on the right side of to get reelected. The true shield of the pokie industry is thus not the larger recipients – it is the small ones – Which is why they treat them as a highly worthwhile cost of doing business.

    The Green Party may well be the least compromised of any major political party by this need to comfort the middle ground, and they may hold the balance of power next time round. If this industry is to be rolled back, it will require three planks to any campaign that the Greens may mount:

    1) A simple policy that kills the money that drives the system at source. The easiest is to require by law that pokies are set to return 100c on the dollar, and that bars treat them in the same manner as Sky TV – as a cost that is part of the venue that is not directly charged for. Personally, I would rather get rid of them, but I suspect that the bar owners would largely do this for me if this was the new rules of the game.

    2) A campaign to support this policy by outlining the damage that pokies do to innocent parties in the areas that they operate. The already developed position on the impact of rising rates of child poverty would be an excellent springboard for this. These children do NOT make the decision to pay the pokies, but they do suffer the direct consequences of it.

    3) A campaign to support this policy by naming and shaming small and otherwise respectable recipients of pokie money, both nationally and locally by linking their activities with child poverty.

    This suggestion to target these small pokie money recipients may provoke a torrent of articulate indignation from those whose ‘innocent’ activities or pastimes receive ‘essential’ support from this source. If it does, then my suggestion to you Russell and Martin is not to waste your time trying to directly shoot holes in what is clearly politically bullet proof. Go to the Greens with a well worked plan. If they won’t buy it, then it’s unlikely that this ‘industry’ can be dealt with by any means that currently lie within lawful politics or the law itself.

    • Elizabeth

      Last thing I would ever do is vote for the Greens.
      I’ve never used or voted to use gambling funds on any governance committee I’ve been on.
      Historically, my involvement in organised amateur sport has meant team costs and grounds maintenance costs weren’t funded by gambling.
      I refused to watch rugby from primary school age because it held no relevance, it was male sport, with it came male drinking and detested drunkenness, I abhorred the way broadcast and print media put men’s before women’s sport, I thought the whole picture was UGLY and thuggish, and that’s before sport was professionalised – I differed from the rest of my immediate family in this.
      Ra ra. (yep sounding ridiculous…) Having said that, my ‘middle class’ family taught me from a young age that using the High Court to pursue natural justice can be successful. They also taught me to use expert counsel from out of town, even though it’s a small country.

      I believe in SFO. (blind faith?)
      I believe in the Ombudsman’s Office – given their role and the parameters of their legislation, and who holds top office presently. Getting things into the public record…
      And yes, I believe in private prosecution and making an example. And making the big time white-collar criminals and weak/corrupt public servants wince, if the evidence clearly shows multimillion-dollar fraud. The documentary evidence, of course, is clear as a bell.

      I believe in using concerted underground tactics to assist social justice.

      No idea why I’ve written this comment. 2012 is nearly over ?
      Recharging batteries for a hell fight next year. Not giving up! Early days.

  16. Calvin Oaten

    Rob and Elizabeth; I take both your comments as valid. Rob, all you say would mean some sort of ‘utopia’, but that ‘ain’t goin’ to happen. The situation we, Russell and Martin are dealing with is, in a sense retrospective. It has and is happening and will go on happening unless something is done. These people must be dealt to or it will just continue and get worse. I know the monies are tainted by the manner in which they are extracted from the sections of the community least able to afford it. That is the failing of the system. I also know that the recipients in many instances are simply no better than crooks. This is disguised by the many so called socially upright folk ( Peter Dunne) who advocate for the whole “CHARITY” story, conveniently ignoring the source and the down sides there. The ‘pollies’ are never going to stir that pot. So why not, when the evidence is so compelling of malfeasance committed put the case to the Serious Fraud Office for a declaration of intent? Nothing to lose and the only way to see justice is done. The alternative is to simply drop the whole subject and let the crooks off. In Dunedin’s case the ORFU will continue to gorge on the blood of its citizens. Sometimes it is necessary for the people to say ‘enough’!

  17. Rob Hamlin

    I wish that I could share your optimism Calvin. The problem is that if you look at the evidence that Russell and Martin have provided, and to who they have already provided it, the zero response can really explained not by a lack of will to act, but an active and positive will not to act, and to shut it down.

    Yes, it is probably worth going to these other bodies with the evidence to hand, but these people probably value their incomes and careers just as much as the others, and the outcome is likely to be the same.

    At the end of the day, these big departments will only react to very direct and sustained political pressure. Such political pressure only comes from politicians after significant party political and/or personal pecuniary advantage. Sorting out the pokie industry offers neither of these to any individual politician or political party – rather the opposite in fact – which is the probable cause of the positive will not to act in this matter.

    Even the Greens are likely at the end of the day to make this ruthless calculation. In this era of mass communications, there are only a very limited number of things that you can shout about effectively if you are a political party. Decisions as to what to shout about thus have to be made on a ruthless cost/benefit analysis – this one is unlikely to be anywhere near the top of any party’s list.

    The media can be dismissed directly. They have neither the knowledge, investigative depth of talent or the organisational attention span to dent this particularly well-armoured and camouflaged beastie – and that’s just those that have not been issued with direct or inferred ‘guidance’ on the matter from connections higher up.

    The key driver is that the majority of the population either a) support the system as is, or b) don’t know or care. The capacity and will to change this does not lie within government, the legal system, the media or politics. It may just lie within the charities sector itself.

    To have any effect, a charitable organisation would have to possess commitment, motivation and stamina to a near religious degree. They would require a high profile in a relevant area and considerable respect within the wider community as well as substantial human and physical resources. They would also have to have a degree of courage and the will to take few hits from their target.

    The Salvation Army is pretty much the only one that fits this bill. However, I suspect that the Sallies have plenty of other more immediate issues than ‘suit sorting’ that demand their attention and resources.

    Beyond that we may just have to wait until either a combination of greed and stupidity within industry itself cuts the amount leaking out into true charitable use from its current low level to the point where their ‘community shield’ starts to develop some worthwhile holes or a political party that actually and actively represents the interests of the source communities emerges and develops the point where it holds the balance of. power. At that point the political calculations and pressure points may change.

  18. Martin Legge

    The above news story is about Mr Mike O’Brien of Harness Racing and his alleged involvement with another pokie trust, Blugrass Trust of Marlborough, of which his father Pat O’Brien is a trustee. In 2009, when DIA made the decision to issue Bluegrass with its Gambling Operators Licence, it knew full well the potential for trouble because DIA had removed Mike O’Brien from another trust (Metro trust) just 3 years earlier. I suspect this will be the larger investigation which Quivooy will role after the court case is heard in February 2013.

    If Mike O’Brien is such a big fish, why haven’t his links with TTCF, Roseburn Holdings and the 50% stake in Jokers been properly examined or pursued properly by DIA? I know plenty about O’Brien’s ongoing contact with Warwick Hodder and Murray Acklin and can support it with documents if I’d been specifically asked for the information.

    O’Brien’s involvement with TTCF, Roseburn and Jokers did not end until 2013 and would appear far more current than his 2009 dealings with Bluegrass.

    I think we all know the answer to the question – keep TTCF out of scandal at any cost!!!

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    Elizabeth, you are only the 2nd person I’ve heard point out this wisdom: “use expert counsel from out of town”. It worked for him when locals had duckshoved for months because you don’t sue your mates, no matter what they’ve done, no matter who’s paying you.

    Rob, if this can be tied to hungry kids and the need for schools to feed them it could gain traction: “to require by law that pokies are set to return 100c on the dollar, and that bars treat them in the same manner as Sky TV – as a cost that is part of the venue that is not directly charged for” but it would have to work on a low-level spread first. Woman’s & general magazines, the ones that have intelligent-length and depth articles and letters to the editor. And direct to schools. A slow, slow process, a long term investment of time and effort. But since trying to get decisive cut-and-dried results from the bodies established to do the right thing here has been a slow, slow process with not a sossinge of take-up it’s time to look at what’s left.
    The other result of agitation to leave the money in the neighbourhood and pockets it came from, is that 100% payout would not only discourage those who run the machine, it would prevent work-arounds being developed by those who currently benefit bigtime.

    • Elizabeth

      Hype, yes getting traction – meaning public exposure – in ‘the other’ media by elaborating about who loses out to white collar crime and the system is another powerful stab at lessening establishment control. Making things personal, using storytelling, making it poignant, has always dictated success when the aims are fully expressed for collective ownership. I learned in the 1980s, at Auckland, that the personal is political.

  20. Calvin Oaten

    So! In both Rob’s and Martin’s case it looks like ‘game set and match’ with who to buy the drinks? That again, only leaves the Serious Fraud Office. If not, case closed. The ‘crooks’ have won.

    • Elizabeth

      Calvin, it has to be SFO, but maybe there are aspects of SFO I’m not attuned to and should be. To me, that avenue is the most logical and because of what the Office already knows about certain men.

      *This year, unusually, yet sensibly, SFO made a specific plea to the public to come to them early on suspected fraud and corruption at Christchurch – SFO knows there’s always an escalation of the criminal attending major disaster recovery. EARLY LEADS allows them their best shot at efficiency and effectiveness (flexible planning and investigation on tight resourcing).

      I see SFO in a relatively good light. Always have.

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