More people have come forward criticising plans to close the Aramoana Relief Fund, but it appears it has already been granted a temporary reprieve.
The fund’s trustees had planned to distribute the fund’s final $47,000 to three recipients, including the trust pushing to rebuild the Aramoana wharf, after which the fund was to be wound up.
The fund’s chairman, former city councillor Paul Hudson, said the money was to be paid out by yesterday.
However, Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose confirmed late yesterday the money had not been transferred, and there was no immediate plan to do so.
The money was held by Dunedin City Treasury, a Dunedin City Council-owned company, while being administered by the fund’s trustees.
The company had not received any instructions from the fund’s trustees to transfer the money, which would be required before it was distributed, she confirmed.
Asked if the delay was temporary, or whether decisions on the final payout had been revisited by the fund’s trustees, she said that was “unknown”.
Mr Hudson could not be reached for comment about the fund’s final payout yesterday.
The fund was launched days after gunman David Gray claimed the lives of 13 people in Aramoana on November 13, 1990
The appeal, which raised about $300,000 in donations from across New Zealand, was to provide direct financial support to victims and their families, and also to help rehabilitate the community.
Mr Hudson, speaking last week, said the fund’s surviving trustees were ageing and wanted out, and with calls on the fund dwindling, it was time to wind it up.
The trustees, after consulting the community, decided to split the money between the Aramoana wharf project, the Aramoana League and Victim Support.
The decision was criticised by Chiquita Holden, a survivor of the massacre, who said donors’ intentions, and the views of some victims, were being overlooked.
Mr Hudson denied that, saying “senior family members” among victims and their families had since been contacted, and had endorsed the trustees’ plans.
Shane Morgan, whose sister Rewa Bryson was among those killed, said he did not agree with the final payout.
“I just disagree with what they’re planning on doing. It’s all fine and dandy closing it (the fund) up, but don’t just throw the money away just because someone wants a jetty or wharf built,” he said.
Otago Daily Times