The Kohanga Reo story

The Herald reports:

The controversial episode of the current affairs show that reportedly cost Maori Television its star broadcaster has aired – with new reports of misspending by Kohanga Reo officials.

Those reportedly tied up in the financial mismanagement include the Maori king, King Tuheitia.

Executive interference in the Kohanga Reo story, and another on Whanau Ora, was believed to be a factor in Mihingarangi Forbes’ resignation from Native Affairs earlier this month.

Today’s piece focused on misspending at the Te Board and its wholly-owned subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga Limited, a follow up to an earlier investigation by the show.

It’s good to see continue its fine tradition of investigative journalism and run this follow up story. The fact it has run the story does make me wonder about the unsourced claims that the resignation of Forbes was because the CEO did not want the story to run.  It would be nice to have an authoritative statement on what did happen.

However Native Affairs tonight reported that a review into Te Pataka Ohanga by Internal Affairs had found wrongdoings it described as “gross mismanagement”.

These included paying $111000 in directors fees to Kingi Tuiheitia – the Maori King – when he was not a director. That issue had now been referred to Inland Revenue, Native Affairs said.

Te Pataka Ohanga also paid themselves bonuses including koha not approved by the board, and used credit cards to purchase personal items.

It had also allowed board members to take personal loans.

Ousted board member Toni Waho, who spoke exclusively to the programme, said he had one of the loans, which he now agreed was “not a good look”.

Native Affairs reported that since then, Te Pataka Ohanga had cancelled credit cards and suspended loans, among other measures to ensure financial accountability.

It’s really simple.

  • Don’t pay director’s fees to someone who is not a director
  • Don’t use work credit cards for personal items
  • Don’t pay bonuses not approved by the board, or by management with delegated authority
  • Don’t ever lend money to anyone – you are not a bank

It was now on an Inland Revenue watch list, and had been given a formal warning.

The show also revealed the trust had made two payments totaling $800,000 for termination fees in 2007.

The trust appointed a new chief executive last month, a former Ministry of Education official named Kararaina Cribb.
Education Minister Hekia Parata appeared on the show, to say she continues to want a change in governance on the board, to a more modern alternative.

The status quo is unacceptable.

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