Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Govt defends programme allegedly used by gang to buy drugs

The Government says it is backing Whanau Ora amid allegations the Mongrel Mob used money from the scheme to buy cannabis for drug dealing.

Police have told Dunedin District Court that $20,000 was misappropriated from the Whanau-Ora funded We Against Violence Trust and used to buy drugs.

The trust has a $45,000 contract with Whanau Ora for work on whanau violence and community support.

This afternoon Finance Minister Bill English, speaking on behalf of Minister for Whanau Ora Tariana Turia, said the Government remained committed to the scheme.

Asked in Parliament whether Government was reviewing how the Mongrel Mob was given Whanau Ora funding, Mr English replied: ``I understand the relevant department has made enquiries. In fact those enquiries may have been of some assistance to the police.''

Police discovered the alleged misappropriation of money from the trust during an investigation into a Dunedin drug dealing ring in May.

Ten people were arrested in May and four people, including 26 year-old Michael Logan Wong-Tong, have been jointly charged with conspiracy to sell cannabis.

Five of the group were alleged Mongrel Mob Notorious gang members.

- NZ Herald

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