Feilding fire brigade awaits results of funding probe

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 08:00 16/02/2013

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The Department of Internal Affairs has finished its investigation into allegations the Feilding Volunteer Fire Brigade claimed money it was not entitled to.

However, the department will not publicly release its findings until the brigade has "considered" them.

"They've got to have the chance," department spokesman Michael Mead said.

Questions about the brigade's fundraising were raised by a former longstanding member, which led to the Internal Affairs investigation.

A separate NZ Fire Service internal audit cleared the brigade of any wrongdoing over allegations it raised more money than it needed to send a team to the World Rescue Challenge championships in London last October.

The brigade held a public raffle and sought money from trusts and the lottery minister's discretionary fund.

It is overseen by Internal Affairs, with money available to volunteer brigades unable to get funding from the National Rural Fire Authority or the NZ Fire Service.

But according to documents seen by the Manawatu Standard, about the time the brigade received $8730 from the discretionary fund, it was also to receive $12,231 from the NZ Fire Service for "airfares, accommodation and expenses".

Other sources of funding included the Manawatu District Council and from the end of March the brigade received about $23,000 in total. Financial statements until March showed its bank balance was $48,636.

Feilding chief fire officer Peter Guardsaid yesterday he had not received the letter.

NZ Fire Service regional manager Ian Pickard could not be reached for comment.

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- Manawatu Standard

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