Winston Peters, Maori TV and the stitch up


One thing certain about Winston Raymond Peters is that he never lets facts stand in the way of a?good?story.

Let?s take the recent case of the?allegedly?dodgy Maori trust Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau Trust.

Winston Peters raced out with a story in May, which by sheer coincidence happened to coincide with a?so-called investigative report on Maori TV?s Native Affairs. All of this came about because a couple of fellas recently fired from the trust have decided to ?get back? at the trust.

What better way to ?get back? at the trust than to claim dodgy dealings and paint themselves as honest, caring whistle-blowers, and say that the only reason they were sacked was because when they tried to tell the CEO Malcolm Robson about misspending, Robson wasn?t interested.

As with all employment relations disputes where ex-employees think they?re in for a cash win-fall, the company has to play a straight bat. Robson,?told Native Affairs?in a statement that the employees were dismissed as a result of a pre-existing employment investigation involving ?suspected breaches of employment conditions?? and that ?there will be no comment on specific allegations or the individuals involved while the investigation is active.?

Sounds fair enough when you know someone?s keen on trying to?extort?seek a pay-out. ?

Robson also said he inherited ?a number of legacy issues? on taking the CEO role in July 2013, and that the trust was already aware of mistakes in spending before the former staff say they spoke up.

In other words, Robson got handed a hospital pass from the former CEO.

Then?Native Affairs wheeled out? wait for it, another whistle-blower?in the form of Annie Du who just happens to be the wife of whistle-blower #1 Shane Te Pou.

Shane Te Pou is well known in the Labour Party. Also known as Shane Phillips, he has a rich and colourful past including being a Labour Party campaigner (his brother Daniel Phillips was Shane Jones?s private secretary) and was?nice enough to fill out controversial Chinese millionaire Bill Liu?s citizenship form for $5,000.

Helen Clark didn?t want a bar of Shane Te Pou and personally vetoed his appointment?as executive assistant to the Minister of Maori Affairs Dover Samuels.

Whaleloil?has seen documents that suggest there may well be some dodgy stuff going on, and sources tell us that the SFO is now investigating. We will have to wait to see what comes of that.


Now back to the trust.?the Ministry of Health, well known for doling out taxpayer funding like it is going out of fashion, is responsible for the trust, which receives around $30.6 million annually for 250-300 seriously mentally ill and intellectually handicapped clients and its 500 staff.

Thanks to Winston Peters and the stitch up job on Native Affairs, the MOH has brought in a PwC team to conduct a forensic audit and three advisers to the CEO and board. None of which comes cheap.

Fair enough if the trust has been fudging the books and sacking people who try to stop it ? but is that what really happened?

I?ve yet to see a case like this where some aggrieved party hasn?t had a crack at pay-out. Usually the first stunt is to hit up management, and when that doesn?t work and money isn?t forthcoming, the next step is to take out a personal grievance, hoping to tuck into tens of thousands.

Some MSM may like to look at what?s before the Employment Court in the next few weeks. Maybe Native Affairs could ask that question to its much relied on so-called whistle-blowers.

Whistle-blower #2 by the way is a Tony Tietie. He may have another reason for trying to chuck the trust under the bus.?Tietie was tied up with Tribro Labour?construction business that?collapsed in 2009 owing millions?with debt collectors chasing him.

Where?s Winston Peters on all of this? Mmmm gone to ground. What?s the bet he woke up the following day after talking to the media about the trust and was told all is not what it seems.

Native Affairs, which has invested a lot of time on the story (and taxpayers money) looks like it has been hoodwinked into running angles by its so-called whistle-blowers.

Meanwhile, over at the trust however, despite investigations already having been launched, the threats of funding being cut isn?t going down well with the 250-300 seriously mentally ill and intellectually handicapped clients and its 500 staff.