Cousin takes trust's reins from Sir Ngatata
HAMISH RUTHERFORD AND TIM DONOGHUE
Sir Ngatata Love's first cousin Morrie Love has been appointed chairman of the Wellington Tenths Trust, declaring it is "business as usual" for the organisation.
A former director of the Waitangi Tribunal, Morrie Love was elected as a trustee of the trust at its annual meeting in September, and was voted in as chairman on Tuesday.
Yesterday he said his focus was on developing the trust's assets for its members.
"We will continue to build in terms of the assets of the beneficial owners and really enhance what is provided for them . . .
"We're a careful and conservative trust and we'll continue in that mode."
In August, Sir Ngatata took leave of absence as chairman of the Tenths Trust, after revelations that more than $1 million from a property developer building on the trust's land ended up in a bank account he shares with partner Lorraine Skiffington.
The details, relating to Pipitea House, the headquarters of New Zealand's spy network, emerged during the fraud trial of two Wellington accountants, Barrie Skinner and David Rowley.
Sir Ngatata later stepped down from other trusts and organisations, days before the Serious Fraud Office announced it was investigating Tenths Trust transactions.
Morrie Love declined to comment on Sir Ngatata, who remains a trustee, and there were no plans to remove him ahead of the resolution of the SFO investigation.
"That fits with New Zealand's presumption, in terms of [innocence] and these things, and we should follow that, it's the standard principle in this country," Mr Love said.
"The SFO has its own processes and we'll assist them in whatever they require and we'll get clarification when they report."
A qualified agricultural engineer, Morrie Love has held senior posts at the Environment Ministry and Maori Affairs Ministry.
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