Confidential documents relating to the Otago Rugby Football
Union's involvement with pokies are being withheld by the
Department of Internal Affairs.
The department declined an Official Information Act request
to release the New Zealand Rugby Union-supplied documents on
the grounds it "would be likely to prejudice the supply of
The Otago Daily Times has lodged a complaint with the Office
of the Ombudsmen seeking the release of the information,
citing public interest.
Asked if the union was under investigation, an Internal
Affairs spokesman said the department's focus was on the
union's biggest pokie funder, The Trusts Charitable
Foundation, and not the union.
"We are in the process of finalising our audit of TTCF."
The department had not undertaken any new interviews with
current or former union staff or board members, he said.
The NZRU declined to release the report, but issued a
"In the course of finalising the recovery package for the
Otago Rugby Football Union, the NZRU became aware of
potential issues relating to funds obtained by the union from
gaming trusts," public affairs general manager Nick Brown
"The NZRU carried out its own investigation and were
satisfied that the funds it planned to invest in the ORFU as
part of the recovery package were not at any material risk
from any potential action by authorities."
Copies of documents obtained by the NZRU in the course of
that investigation were handed over to the Department of
Internal Affairs at a meeting last month.
The union received more than $6 million in pokie grants -
earmarked for amateur rugby - from the trust between 2005 and
Earlier this year, the ODT reported the union had bought
three Auckland-based bars and entered a relationship with
TTCF after Internal Affairs declined its request to set up a
Former TTCF contractor and pokies whistle-blower Martin Legge
was not surprised Internal Affairs was not releasing the
"It's pretty consistent with a whitewash of any public
accountability in this case.
"In any event, I would have concerns about the validity of
the audit in respect of detecting breaches of the Gambling
Act (2003)," he said.
"That's [Internal Affairs'] job but they have continued to
sidestep their obligations."