BIG NEWS

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Can we have some more money?

Like many I was a bit uneasy about many Maori MPs appearing at the recent Destiny Church conference. Like most MPs, they are after votes in election year.

But the fact is that Brian Tamaki and Richard Lewis were using this conference to get these MPs - all Maori – as a front to get funding – including Whanau Ora funding - from the government. This is because of 300 applications, they’ve only succeeded twice. But in 2009 the MSD gave the trust $355,000 – and the trust then declared $70,000 net profit.

Brian Tamaki is a founding trustee, and Lewis is a current trustee on the Te Runanga A Iwi O Te Oranga Ake Urban Maori Authority (UMA), but last year on Campbell Live Lewis said that the Maori Authority was not really a Destiny Church trust, but “an entirely separate entity and set of trustees”. Yet half its trustees control the money on Destiny churches throughout the country, and it is registered to the Destiny Church’s head office.

Destiny Church in Auckland shares one trustee on the UMA,Destiny Christchurch shares two, Destiny Hamilton and Rotorua, two each (the same two people, Peter and Jean Hunt).

Jean Hunt is actually a trustee of two thirds of the Destiny church trusts – as well as the Urban Maori Authority, the Destiny International Trust, and the trust set up for Destiny’s school, the Te Roto Taone Nui Trust – a trust which has filted money back into Destiny Church via “cost of service provision”, despite being bulk funded through the Ministry of Education - and WINZ.

The income of the Urban Maori Authority is also made up of Government grants, of which most are spent on wages. As of its return to the Charities commission in October last year, the Trust had more than $70,000 of tax-payer money in the bank earning interest but they were given $850,000 for a Community Max scheme that cost the taxpayer more than $ 200 each week for each person worked with. But all except $10,000 was spent on wages, ACC,and KiwiSaver payments..

But the money is not coming in fast enough for Destiny to employ their unemployed church workers on schemes – of which ten percent of the salaries would be ploughed back into church tithes. That's because Community Max is finished.

Paula Bennett is a Maori, and the Minister for Social Development, responsible for funding social services. Why wasn’t she invited, laid hands on and prayed for? Is it because she is the MP for Waitakere, a non-Maori electorate – or weren’t women invited?

GOVERNMENT FUNDING OF DESTINY CHURCH SERVICES 2009-11 ( as released to TV3)

Community Max: $681,843 (Ministry of Social Development - mentoring - Auckland)
Community Max: $74,353 (MSD - mentoring - Bay of Plenty)
Community Max: $57,553 (MSD - mentoring - Northland)
Community Max: $36,419 (MSD - mentoring - Waikato)
Community response: $10,000 (Holiday breakaway programme)
Kindergarten: $419,916 (Ministry of Education - Early Childhood Education)
Destiny School: $266,313 (ministry of Education - private school funding)

TOTAL: $1,546,397

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