How can you sue to demand a higher donation?

February 25th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

In terms of fundraising, few organisations are in such a favoured position as the Westpac rescue helicopter service. Such is the high profile and obvious value of its work that Aucklanders respond readily and generously whenever money is sought. This degree of public goodwill should never be taken for granted, however. There will always be the strong risk of a backlash when ratepayers learn they can expect a $500,000 legal bill to defend a court case brought by the helicopter service.

That situation has arisen because the Auckland Regional Rescue Helicopter Trust is challenging plans to cut its annual operating grant from ratepayers from $900,000 to $450,000. Both the and the council-funded Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board, which determines the grants allotted to 10 rescue, safety, arts and cultural groups, are standing firm. The helicopter service, they say, has been incredibly successful at fundraising and is in an exceptionally sound financial position. It is ready to stand more on its own two feet.

I don’t have a particular view on what the level of funding should be. But I do have a strong view that this is effectively a donation, and that the recipients of a donation should not go to court to try and force a higher level of donation.

The Trust provides a valued service and does much good. But this lawsuit risks a lot of goodwill.

Tags:

19 Responses to “How can you sue to demand a higher donation?”

  1. wreck1080 (3,999 comments) says:

    Maybe dumbies fly helicopters?

    Don’t get this at all.

    Simply put, they can cut their service according to the drop. Next time there is a need but no fuel — just don’t fly.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    I’m surprised the AKL council hasn’t increased the funding with the condition it’s called “The Len Brown rescue service” !

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    Why should a seemingly important core service have to rely on donations at all when we are giving fifty times as much money to millionaires to race yachts? That’s the real question.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,704 comments) says:

    Surely you mean ‘a larger donation’?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Duxton (658 comments) says:

    nickb: I agree. Is the council providing any funding for Chinese New Year, of Maori/Pasifika festivals? Surely they are lower priorities than a life-saving service.

    Then again, there are Len Brown’s costs………

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. WineOh (636 comments) says:

    From memory the annual chopper street appeal and charity auctions etc that Wpac runs usually brings in about $1.3M-ish, but thats on an annual basis not specific to Auckland. $500k out of the budget is going to hurt.

    Actually its got me thinking now, should Auckland have more or less funding for the helicopter service.
    + Lots of people
    + Awful traffic
    + More likely to suffer unfortunate accident (due to percentage of people being Aucklanders)

    Yep they’ll need every penny.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. calendar girl (1,259 comments) says:

    “…when we are giving fifty times as much money to millionaires to race yachts …”

    Auckland’s ratepayers aren’t paying that “fifty times as much”. The yacht racing is the Government’s indulgent folly. (I have no argument with your implication that it should cease doing so.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Kleva Kiwi (290 comments) says:

    @ burt. No helicopter is going to be able to rescue Len Brown from himself…

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    I’d like to know more info before joining the queue to beat them up…. something is not quite right.

    For example, if the Trust had entered into a lease / purchase arrangement for a new helicopter and, as part of the funding arrangement the Auckland Council had committed in writing to providing funding to a specific level / for a specific period, only to now do a U-turn, then perhaps the Trust has good reason to have the Council ‘reversal’ challenged.

    Because no organisation in their right mind would be so ignorant to bite one of the hands that feeds them, would they????

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    Auckland’s ratepayers aren’t paying that “fifty times as much”. The yacht racing is the Government’s indulgent folly. (I have no argument with your implication that it should cease doing so.)

    Very right cg, I did fail to point that out. More the overall principle

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. berend (1,690 comments) says:

    Nobody should litigate for the right to receive money from ratepayers. What they should understand is that this money is given under duress. Ratepayers do not have a choice. Force is an immoral way for any organisation or trust to fund themselves.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. peterwn (3,335 comments) says:

    see:
    https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/pdf/jdo/31/alfresco/service/api/node/content/workspace/SpacesStore/d9181172-dafa-4676-8b3a-a16848b6043c/d9181172-dafa-4676-8b3a-a16848b6043c.pdf

    “The Combined Beneficiaries Union v The Auckland City COGS Commission.”

    It seems because the Commission is a public body its decisions are susceptible to judicial review and in this case there was a breach of ‘natural justice’ on part of the GOGS Commission.

    Given the Union’s success in that case (which I think stinks), the Helicopter Trust no doubt considers that it has not received ‘natural justice’ here.

    I doubt the decision would not bind a private trust like the TG McCarthy Trust despite it being administered by a public agency – The Public Trustee, or at least I hope not.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. campit (467 comments) says:

    Is there any reason why insurance companies don’t sponsor the rescue helicopter? Wouldn’t they be the biggest beneficiaries?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Simon (780 comments) says:

    The helicopter service is working the existing system. The system is fucked not the helicopter service which is execptionally well run. There will be some funding mechanism that isnt been properly applied.

    Some little utterly useless gobshite organisation (so called non profit with CEO on large six figures) with insider contacts with the council will be working the system to the determent of the helicopter service. (probably others)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. GPT1 (2,021 comments) says:

    If it is half a million legal bill they’re idiots. I’d win it for $50k.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Steve (North Shore) (4,537 comments) says:

    berend @ 1.23

    Nobody should litigate for the right to receive money from ratepayers. What they should understand is that this money is given under duress. Ratepayers do not have a choice. Force is an immoral way for any organisation or trust to fund themselves.

    Tell Lying Len Brown – he has a huge bill at E&Y and the Ratepayers are paying most, if not all

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. OneTrack (3,371 comments) says:

    Len has to cut the funding to the helicopter service. That’s only life and dead. Len has much more important things to spend ratepayers money on – Maori Statutory Boards for instance, and the $250 million sweetener he suddenly pulled out of his arse to try and get Key to fund his train set.

    Len, who is going to ride on the stupid thing and where are they going to go? And how can that be worth the 6 to 10 billion dollars this will cost. Yes, we know you have fudged the figures to try and get your way. It’s good when you know it’s not coming out of your own pocket, isn’t it. Very easy to be “generous”. High five.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Use Army Helicopters we already pay for them

    SHUT UP AND GO AWAY

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Is there still a giant photo of the helicopter painted on the wall of a certain downtown Auckland pub at street level?

    I once worked for a boss who said he would never donate to the Westpac helicopter, and that photo was the reason. Someone who lives for scandals should investigate it…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote