The Department of Internal Affairs has confirmed the
existence of a commissioned report on the Otago Rugby
Football Union's involvement with pokies, but continues to
withhold the material.
The Otago Daily Times revealed last year the union was
involved in buying three Auckland bars, with the intention of
setting up its own pokie trust.
After that application was declined by the department in
2004, the bars were aligned to a different trust - The Trust
Charitable Foundation (TTCF).
That trust was responsible for more than half of the $5.1
million in pokie grants given to the union between 2005 and
Last year, the cash-strapped union was on the brink of
insolvency, due in part to a $200,000 shortfall in budgeted
pokie grants, and questions were raised over the union's
handling of grants.
At the time of finalising the union's recovery package, New
Zealand Rugby Union officials confirmed there were
''potential issues relating to funds obtained from gaming
Documents sourced by the union were given to Internal
Affairs, and both organisations declined to publicly release
A source close to the inquiry has confirmed the information
sent to Internal Affairs was compiled by Cascade Consulting,
on behalf of the NZRU.
Last week, Internal Affairs confirmed the existence of the
Cascade Consulting report, but declined to release it, on the
grounds it would prejudice the supply of similar information
from the same source.
''And it is in the public interest that such information
should continue to be supplied,'' Craig Press, of Internal
Affairs, said in a statement.
''I considered the public interest in the report and decided
it was outweighed by the need to withhold it.''
A 2012 email from an NZRU official to an Internal Affairs
senior manager following the release of the Cascade
Consulting report, has since been obtained by the ODT.
The NZRU email asks for an ''assessment of likely DIA action
in light of what the investigator came across''.
The ODT has lodged an appeal to the Office of the
Ombudsman, for the release of the report.