21 Dec 2013

Foodbank liquidated after three years of high living

12:03 pm on 21 December 2013

A foodbank in Wellington has been placed in liquidation after accusations that money intended for needy people was spent on high living by the foodbank's fundraiser.

In an affidavit to the High Court, a Department of Internal Affairs investigator says Michael Hawkins who was contracted to raise funds for the Foodbank Service, was in reality its controller and main beneficiary.

Radio New Zealand News has been told the affidavit states Mr Hawkins spent all but 4% of the money donated to the Foodbank, on living beyond his means.

The affidavit shows Mr Hawkins drew a commission of $390,00 for fundraising since the charity was established in 2010.

The document says Mr Hawkins also raised funds for the Wellington City Mission from 2007 to 2009.

City Mission chief executive Michelle Branney said his contract was terminated after complaints people found his telemarketing staff were too pushy.

''People were feeling really duped,'' she said.

The Internal Affairs Department says its investigation found areas of significant concern and it is in the process of deciding whether the matter should be refered to the courts.

Radio New Zealand News has not been able to contact Mr Hawkins, but The Dominion Post reports Mr Hawkins has denied most of the department's accusations.

The liquidation was ordered by the High Court in Wellington on 9 December.