Sir Ngatata Love re-elected to trust

TIM DONOGHUE AND HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 15:55 11/09/2012
Ngatata Love
Maarten Holl/ FAIRFAX NZ
SCANDAL: Ngatata Love stood down from a chairmanship while an investigation into financial dealings at the Tenths Trust is underway.

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Sir Ngatata Love, who stood down from a series of Maori trust positions amid a Serious Fraud Office investigation, has been re-elected as a trustee of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

Results from elections held during the trust's annual general meeting at the Pipitea Marae on Saturday, show Sir Ngatata received 939 votes, ranking second only to Howie Tamati.

Liz Mellish, former MP Mahara Okeroa, Toarangatira Pomare were also elected as trustees for the next three years, while Hokipera Ruakere was elected for one year, to take up the position left vacant by the death of Sir Paul Reeves last year.

In a statement the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust said no comment would be made until the new board meets.
Sir Ngatata did not attend Saturday's meeting.

On Saturday, the Dominion Post revealed that Sir Peter Jackson's plans for a world class film museum at Shelley Bay - which became Port Nicholson Block land following a settlement with the Crown - were scuppered after Sir Ngatata's partner, Lorraine Skiffington sought $750,000 in consultancy fees to help secure the land.

Sources close to the director said Sir Peter found the services agreement proposal from Ms Skiffington ''a serious turnoff'' and refused to sign.

Sir Ngatata stepped aside as Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust chairman last month, following claims in a fraud case against two Wellington accountants that Ms Skiffington was paid more than $1 million by a property developer which had won the right to develop an office building on Tenths Trust land.

That building is now the headquarters of New Zealand's spy network and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

During the trial Ms Skiffington denied the payment was structured to avoid anyone with an interest in the Tenths Trust - where Sir Ngatata was also chairman - finding out about it. Court documents show the payment ended up in an account she jointly held with Sir Ngatata.

On August 22 the Serious Fraud Office confirmed it was investigating the Tenths trust over possibly unlawful payments and transactions.

Sir Ngatata and Ms Skiffington have both declined to comment on the investigation on numerous occasions.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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