Allegations made by Maori Television's Native Affairs programme about the credit card spending of a general manager of Kōhanga Reo have seen Prime Minister John Key promising to “throw the book” at the Kōhanga Reo Trust if proven correct.
Could other ECE organisations be next in line to have their managers’, CEOs' and executive/board members’ spending scrutinised and made public? Perhaps only if there are allegations, but the Prime Minister’s willingness to comment on the allegations against the Trust suggest that how ECE organisations spend public money and what controls they have in place to make sure that money reaches and benefits children’s care and education is of government interest.
The spending of Ministry of Education funding is not usually of interest to the Ministry or to the Government. Organisations are trusted and assumed to have good controls in place to reduce theft, fraud, and misuse of funds.
The financial accounts of the Trust had been regularly audited and as far as the Ministry of Education was concerned there were no irregularities in regard to funding and funding claims.
The Government has asked the Ministry of Education to commission an independent audit firm to review the controls the Trust has in place to assure itself that public funding is being used appropriately. The Trust and Government Ministers have agreed that a Terms of Reference will be drawn up and that a final report will be sent to both parties independently for their assessment.