Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:
A Mana Party candidate who kept $12,000 that had been given for his cancer treatment says he was unable to give the money back.
Unable? Not normally a hard thing to do.
Mr Nikora was diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago and his community raised between $30,000 and $40,000 for private treatment.
When the Auckland District Health Board did the operation free of charge, he said he would give the money to charities and the community.
Maori current affairs show Native Affairs asked Mr Nikora this week whether he had returned all of the money, and he confirmed that he had kept $12,000 which had been raised for him in an art auction.
“They wouldn’t let me give that money back,” he said.
Asked whether he felt it was right to keep it, he said: “Yes. My whanau gave it to me. We have to think of this in not so much a money way but in a Maori way.”
There’s two issues here. The first is the decision not to donate all the money to charity. The second is the decision not to be upfront about it.
I have no issues with someone who was the beneficiary of fundraising keeping the funds, if they wish to – and the donors are happy with it. But one should be upfront about that, and not claim you have donated all the money to charity when you haven’t.
Mr Nikora has said in previous interviews that he redistributed all of the money given for his treatment.
And that is the issue.