Politics | Charity

Tamihere not talking on charity watchdog’s third investigation involving Te Pāti Māori

Tamihere not talking on Charity watchdog’s third investigation involving Te Pāti Māori

Te Pāti Māori president John Tamihere is refusing to comment on government watchdog Charity Services’ investigations into party affairs.

Charity Services has two separate investigations under way and is checking up on a third.

The first is a continuing investigation into the National Urban Māori Authority’s sponsorship payments of $82,695 to the party during the 2020 election campaign.

A new investigation has also been launched following a complaint about a Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust free Matariki party in Henderson featuring top entertainment acts on July 13.

Tamihere is chief executive of the Waipareira Trust, a Māori urban authority that also holds Whana Ora contracts.

A complaint to Charity Services argued the way the event was run, with Te Pāti Māori branding prominent, the lack of other political parties in attendance and the appearance of seven of eight of Te Pāti Maori’s candidates could mean the charity was engaging in a party-political event.

Charity Services general manager Charlotte Stanley has confirmed she has used her statutory powers to start an inqury.

Meanwhile, a further Charity Services investigation hit a deadline today. The Waipareira Trust had been required to show the agency that Tamihere had made arrangements to repay a controversial $385,307 loan or that some progress had been made on the issue.

That follows an investigation by Charity Services after the Waipareira Trust contributed to Tamihere’s failed Auckland mayoralty bid that year and then to Te Pāti Māori’s election campaign in 2020. The trust first claimed it was entitled to make political donations but later said the money was an interest-free related-party loan to Tamihere.

This year Waipareira Trust told Charity Services it had issued a demand to Tamihere for the repayment of the loan, and also promised not to further support or oppose political parties or candidates in the future.

Charity Services then said the August 7 deadline for information on loan progress.