Charity organiser defends husband
The organiser of a group taking donations from the public to feed Hamilton's needy has defended the involvement of her husband - white supremacist Kyle Chapman.
Hamilton Homeless organiser Claire Chapman says there is no connection between her organisation and the white pride group, Right Wing Resistance (RWR), that Christchurch man Kyle Chapman is director and founder of.
"My husband, his interests aren't my interests; however, my interests are his interests," Chapman said. "Kyle is helpful and feeds the homeless every night he can."
Kyle Chapman, the former leader of the National Front, is the funding co-ordinator and organises meals on Thursday nights for Hamilton Homeless, an unregistered charity.
The contact number listed for Kyle Chapman on Hamilton Homeless' Facebook page is also the number listed for the headquarters of RWR but he said it made sense because it was his private number and he was a member of both groups.
Hamilton Homeless feeds 60 to 70 people each night and has a pool of about 100 volunteers to call on on any one evening.
But the group's connection with the white pride group has raised questions among at least two well-established Hamilton social service agencies.
St Vincent de Paul Hamilton manager Mike Rolton said some things didn't seem to add up about Hamilton Homeless' story.
Rolton said he had been approached by Claire Chapman for help, but felt uncomfortable about what she had told him.
"I asked what do they do with the money they collect, because you're not a charitable trust," Rolton said.
"She told me it went into her husband's trust account."
Claire Chapman said that was incorrect. "Hamilton Homeless is umbrellaed under Kyle's trust, so it has nothing to do with his primary purpose of his own interest, which is the Canterbury projects that he has."
Kyle Chapman has led white pride marches in Christchurch and run for mayor in the past.
Catherine Hodges, director at Methodist City Action, was also concerned.
"There's a lot of generosity with the public and you want to make sure it is going to the place they say it is."
Claire Chapman said she asked her husband to be the funding co-ordinator because he was "good at organising people".
She challenged critics to attend a meal in order to get a better understanding of the group. "Unless you're involved in the organisation, you can't be fully aware of what is going on."
Kyle Chapman said the criticism of Hamilton Homeless was unfounded and amounted to a personal attack on him and his beliefs.
"The fact that people want to put holes in a charity because of politics shows that they are actually of low character," he said. "They are trying to stop the good work because they have a bee in their bonnet about me."