An Auckland school accused of spending money raised by children for the Fiji cyclone relief fund for school purposes says the money has not been spent and will go towards aid relief or charity work next year.
Blockhouse Bay Intermediate School has been under scrutiny after it was revealed the school hadn't passed on $3700 collected last year specifically for Fiji flood victims.
The Auditor-General's report released last Thursday named and shamed schools for their use of funds - including overseas travel, a $7000 staff party and gifts for principals and "wellbeing" payments.
Blockhouse Bay Intermediate School came under fire for its management of the Fiji flood victim funds as well as another discrepancy relating to $2,500 of "expenses".
The report itself said were that the money meant for the victims of last year's devastating Cyclone Winston was instead used for school purposes.
However, in a statement today board chairman Russell Matthews said the relief money had not been spent.
"This came to our knowledge in 2017," he said.
"We have been working with the auditors and will make provision in early 2018 to support aid relief and or charity work in Fiji."
Matthews said the financial situation outlined in the report related to the 2015/2016 financial year, before the current board and principal took office.
"When the new board and new management of the school took office and identified financial issues, we immediately talked with the Ministry of Education and took corrective actions and decisions."
Some of these decisions were still being finalised, he said.
Further to this, Matthews said the new principal, who took over in May last year, and the new board, which took office a month after that, had worked with the Ministry of Education to address the situation.
"We will continue to investigate the issues raised by the Auditor General and will address these as required."
Broadcaster Dev Sachindra Prasad, who was behind a massive fundraising effort for the victims of last year's devastating Cyclone Winston, said he was staggered a school had short-changed the struggling Pacific community at a time of great need.
"They asked members of the public to come forward and do something good but to not hand it over it means you've stolen from people.
Prasad said the cyclone devastated the island nation to the point people were left living in bus shelters.
The North Shore School was one of several schools that came under fire for spending on staff members' gifts and hospitality.
Last year $7000 was spent on a farewell party and a $3000 leaving gift for the principal.
The same year Puhinui School board gave its principal an $8500 ride-on mower as a leaving gift. Kevin Hornby had led the school for about 30 years.
Board of trustees chairman Les Waimotu said all the teachers and parents knew about and were supportive of the expensive gift.
"That was a small token given to him for recognition of 30 years at our school and 45 years in the education sector."
Waimotu said the mower was for Hornby's own lawns as he lived on a large property. It was not so he could mow the school lawns.
"After he's been principal I doubt we'd hire him back as the caretaker."
The Ministry of Education told Newstalk ZB it would follow up with the school's Board of Trustees to make sure they understand what has happened at the school.
Any action it takes will depend on what it finds after speaking to the board.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had not seen the report, but said the spending sounded "hugely surprising".
"I would find that hugely surprising given the environment our schools are operating in.
"And particularly parents who are paying donations I think would also be surprised by that kind of spending," Ardern said.