Still to hear about the results of my (numerous) complaints. Anyhoo,... some of this reportage particularly made me revisit an old favourite, Air Rescue Services Ltd. A reminder about their Special Purpose (copied from their website):
The Directors resolved to continue to apply the current criteria, methods, systems and policies for net proceeds distribution, to effectively maximise returns to the rescue helicopter service through Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust, and to ensure the even distribution of funding for other charitable or community organisations within the company's operating areas.
I would also like to remind you that venues are not allowed to have any say in where grants go. That is in the legislation.
What I have done is pull their grants data that ARS has made to the end of their financial year June 2022, and added this to my previous work, cleaned it up and categorised it. Here is a chart looking at where their money has gone over time. No surprises: money mostly going to their CWCART and a large amount to sport. What is interesting however is the growth in the dollar value of grants over these ten years. This is due to growth in venue management: in 2015 they had 420 machines under management: at the end of 2021 that had grown to 583. This represents around 5% of the total gaming machines in New Zealand. What I have also started to do is to look at who owns the venues (DIA does not do this – I’ve asked). Venue ownership can be quite telling if you want to understand why certain sorts of activities get favoured: although as previously stated venues really are not allowed to influence grant decisions.
The COVID effect is striking for 2020. Interestingly ARS has only recently moved into Auckland (after an effort which didn't end well earlier last decade), so the impact of that city’s lockdowns in later years is minimised.
- Air Rescue’s grants have grown a fair bit. This is generally driven by venue expansion
- Their core purpose, funding to the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust, has grown a fair bit too. We can only assume that demand is increasing here: as previously stated the operations of this are in a private business so we have no insights.
Unfortunately, the Gambling Commission is unable to assist you because it is not within the Commission’s jurisdiction to look into complaints of the type that you have raised. Any complaints in relation to class 4 gambling should be made to the Department of Internal Affairs because it is part of the DIA’s job to investigate such matters. Obviously you have done this, but it is not clear from your email whether the DIA has not investigated your complaint, or whether it has investigated it, but you were not happy with the outcome. If it is the former, you should continue to communicate with the DIA until you receive a substantive response.
I assume things are all tickety boo given I haven't heard anything substantive from DIA, and that Nelson community organisations are not getting penalised by this level of grants.
We can see a few clubs have fallen from favour, including Mainland Football.
Any keen observer of my website will also have remembered that ARS have a venue in Rotorua. In a site that theoretically generated almost $400k, they gave $20k to one school. Might have a dive down this rabbit hole in a later piece, but community groups of Rotorua: apply!
Another measure that I’ve noticed particularly with some northern based activity is that the number of grants given can be an indicator of relationships which may be tricky. You will recall from some previous work that I've seen this as a red flag: after all it can be quite involved applying for grants. Many pokies have policies around minimising the number of grants to individual organisations, limiting them to a couple per annum. Apparently not these guys.
The most funded organisation with 26 grants is Jasmine Arts and Culture Charitable Trust. This charity was registered in Jan 2018. According to Granted.govt.nz it received around $50k from Youthtown in 2019, nothing in 2020, and then in 2021 a further $50k from Youthtown, and $176k from ARS. Curious don’t you think that this organisation only received pokie grant money from the two organisations which were associated with the above venues? Jasmine’s own accounts state: The Trust's primary source of funding is through receipt of corporate donations from Youthtown. Additional sources of funding include a mixture of donation from corporate and individuals, who attend to various training courses and workshops.” It would be interesting to see if Jasmine’s accounts change this year to reflect the change of funders. Although I’m unsure how this sits with the stated purpose of ARS’s Special Purpose.
Dewey Centre Foundation registered 7 June 2021. They haven’t received anything in the calendar year 2021, but looks to have been busy in 2022, asking ARS for almost $85k, and receiving $75k. According to the Government’s Granted website, they haven’t received any money from anyone else to June 2022. Their website locates them at Unit 2, 9 Gooch Place in Auckland, just a couple of doors down from 123 Casino, a Air Rescue Venue.
Drury Youth Charitable Trust registered 2017 although have not submitted any annual accounts since 2020. In 2019 they received $36k from North and South, and $10k off Youthtown. Nothing in 2020. In 2021, according to Granted.govt.nz they received $95,731 all from ARS. In the 2019 accounts most that money went to salaries, rent and costs of a tournament. In 2020 there was no rent paid. Since ARS started funding this group in Q1 2021, they have provided some $125k of cash, and the charity has asked for $160k: a 78% strike rate. I can't find a website.
One other change this calendar year which made me go hmmmm is another venue change. In the September 2022 quarter The Rudder, an Auckland venue, moved from BlueSky to ARS. This venue used to have a person involved with Angel Children’s Education Trust as a shareholder. You may recall a piece Stuff did on that organisation (note – the above link used to work before the Stuff article). Looking forward to seeing the Oct to Dec 2022 grants.
One Wellington organisation receiving a lot of funding quite often is Sport Education Community and Cultural Foundation (SECC Foundation). Registering on 22 Jan 2019 as a charity, the have received $729k from 36 grants, including $139k before they were registered! ARS is their only funder, and they look to spend all the money on sporting equipment for schools with no salaries nor rents.
I write about this stuff as believe that as need to understand where funding comes from, where it goes, and how it gets there. No one else seems all that interested. As a citizenry we allow both those supplying money and those asking for money to operate, and as a community we need to ensure we have oversight over the organisations they choose to fund. Love to talk with you if you think this is at all interesting, and if you want to dive into the data a bit more than happy to do so. Check out my website http://www.delfi.co.nz/