8 Jun 2011

Bennett says Destiny Church has received funding

4:31 pm on 8 June 2011

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says Destiny Church has received government funding to run some programmes.

The Church has accused the Government of discriminating after having hundreds of its applications for social programme funding turned down.

Manager Richard Lewis says the organisation established a social arm four years ago with hopes of running government-supported programmes.

He says proposals have gone out to bodies, including the ministries of Social Development and Education, but funding has been turned down about 300 times while other religious groups have received assistance for similar proposals.

However, Paula Bennett said on Wednesday that not all of the applications were refused.

Ms Bennett says the social services arm of the church, Te Runanga a Iwi o Te Oranga Ake, got about $850,000 from the ministry to run four Community Max programmes for 79 people.

Ms Bennett says the success of the programmes the runanga ran have been assessed and the Government is quite pleased with the outcomes.

Funding decisions are based on merit, not on religious affiliations, she says.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the church runs welfare, business and education programmes and could be eligible for some funding.

However, Dr Sharples says he did not give an undertaking to fight for that when he attended a Destiny Church meeting at the weekend.