The offices of Kiingi Tūheitia, the Māori King, have been raided by the SFO. (Getty Images)

The Bulletin: What now after raid of Māori King’s office?

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Māori King’s office raided by the SFO, disgraced TV man Matt Lauer hits back over walking access, and major case of Catholic church child abuse revealed.

The Serious Fraud Office has raided the offices of the Māori King. An initial complaint of financial mismanagement at the Ururangi Trust had been made to the Charities office and was upgraded to the SFO, reports the NZ Herald. A formal investigation is now underway.

One thing that is really important to make clear – no charges have been laid at this stage, reports Māori TV. During the search of the Hopuhopu offices of King Tūheitia Paki, documents and hard drives were taken. The King was not present during the search.

There was another update later in the day. Tainui iwi are heavy supporters of the Kingitanga movement, but Tainui senior leader Tukoroirangi Morgan told Māori TV that if any wrongdoing was proven, the Office of the King should be placed “under the mandate of the tribe. The tribe will take care of the office’s affairs. We should not allow the office to be run independently if there is any truth to the allegations.”

Tuku Morgan is also a former MP, former Māori Party President, and former senior advisor to the King. He was credited by many as the driving force behind the King choosing to endorse Māori Party candidates at the last election, in a break from tradition. After the election Mr Morgan resigned as an advisor, and Radio NZ reports that he raised concerns at the time about spending at the Urarangi Trust.


Disgraced US TV personality Matt Lauer has hit back at those saying he’s not giving walkers access to his Hunter Valley station, going on Radio NZ last night from New York. Lauer claimed that people saw him as an “easy mark,” after he was fired from the high-profile Today show over allegations of sexual misconduct. He argued that walkers were trying to change the rules on him, despite the Overseas Investment Office conditions being met.

Current Land Information minister Eugenie Sage says the previous government were wrong to approve the sale, without unrestricted walking access being part of the conditions, reports Stuff. This morning, Radio NZ’s 6am bulletin reported that former minister Mark Mitchell had no regrets, and said the deal they struck was a good one.


A major NZ Herald investigation into historical child sex abuse in the Catholic church has broken this morning. Their front page carries the story of priest and self-confessed paedophile Michael Shirres, who was quietly placed on a sex offender programme by the church, rather than getting the police involved. The priest’s actions are believed to be largely centred around Māori communities in the far-North.

And in an update to Monday’s story about child sex abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses – Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft has written for The Spinoff, praising mainstream churches that have volunteered to take part in the impending Royal Commission into abuse in state care. “To their credit many churches are now clear that they cannot be both friend and investigator, an enormous conflict of roles,” he writes. “It is time now for other, often smaller, more closed communities, to come to the same realisation.”


Changes are likely to the government’s goal of Smokefree 2025, with even anti-smoking lobby group ASH saying there needs to be a review of tax rises, reports Radio NZ. Dairy owners have been saying for a while now that tax and price rises are causing robberies and assaults – there was a great Checkpoint package on the issue last night. And acting PM Winston Peters – a reformed smoker – believes Smokefree 2025 is a meaningless target.


Mediaworks has issued a stark warning to the government that it may be forced to pull out of television, leaving the state as the only major free to air broadcaster, reports Stuff. While TVNZ is state owned, it operates effectively as a commercial network in competition to the fully commercial Three. Mediaworks’ warning came in the form of a letter to the ministerial advisory group, convened by minister Clare Curran.


This is a really fascinating article from Stuff on the phenomenon of social enterprises, that fall in the gap between businesses and charities, and what their obligations to transparency should be. It follows Eat My Lunch revising some of their claims about how many kids go to school without lunch every day. The feature pushes towards the idea that because social enterprises are now big business, but maintain public profiles more akin to charities, they should be treated more rigorously in both areas.


The Green Party have started proactively releasing their ministerial diaries, reports Newsroom, and by and large the contents of them are a bit boring. The party says the move is about demystifying government, and increasing transparency, and is generally in keeping with the party’s brand of openness. It’s not yet clear if other parties in government will follow their lead.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Jon Toogood speaks to music editor Henry Oliver about the new record being put out by The Adults. Acting deputy political editor Madeleine Chapman spoke to hamburger activist MP Mark Patterson about his meat-promoting mission. And national treasure Madeleine Chapman writes about the process of ghost-writing the autobiography of Steven Adams.


This feature, from Susan Strongman of The Wireless, tells the terrible and tragic story of a life cut short. It follows the path that young David Cerven took, who at the age of 21 was shot dead by police officers in Auckland’s Myers Park. In doing so, it fills in some of the gaps that many people will still have about the confusing case, in which many questions were left unanswered when it was initially reported. Here’s an excerpt:

“At the end of 2013, the young couple moved to Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, where Cerven took a job as a loan administrator at a bank. The following year, while kickboxing, he sustained the injury that was to end any hopes he had of pursuing a professional fighting career. Knee surgery left him with severe scarring and a limp for the rest of his short life.

It was around this time that Cerven’s financial troubles began. In February 2015, he took out a €24,000 bank loan – adding to an already outstanding loan of €5500. He told his mother he needed the money to pay an insurance company, after an accident.

His dream of moving to the US never eventuated. Instead, in March 2015, he and Vyrvova travelled to New Zealand on one-year working holiday visas.”


There’s an absolute storm going down in German politics, over the resignation of  Mesut Özil from the national football team. Özil, who is of Turkish descent, hit out at alleged racism in Germany’s football administration, in comments that the Guardian reports are now being discussed at the very highest level of German politics. There’s a lot more to the story when it comes to the relationship between Turkish Germans, the German government, and the Turkish government, but we don’t have 5000 words to get into it properly.

And over in London, Joseph Parker’s camp are raising concerns about who one of the judges of his next fight will be, reports Stuff. Parker is about to fight Dillian White, with the goal of restarting his climb back up the rankings after losing to Anthony Joshua.


From our partners, Vector’s Chief Networks Officer Andre Botha writes that while making and selling electricity from the comfort of home might sound like some dodgy online scam, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think.


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