A police investigation has begun after more than $750,000 was drained from Whitireia Polytechnic students' association funds over a year.
An audit report shows huge cash payments were made to former association executive members, including almost $12,000 to former president Loretta Ryder. Ms Ryder – the sister of former Black Power spokesman Eugene Ryder – also claimed expenses of $3000 in one month. Almost $700 was spent on an iPod and dock.
The funds also paid for $18,200 of accommodation for Ms Ryder, her family and vice-president Tai Te Karu. It is understood they are cousins and live together.
A large amount of money is also unaccounted for.
About $17,000 was spent through excessive use of mobile broadband modems to surf the internet, the report said. Mobile phone bills of five members of the executive averaged $700 a month.
Ms Ryder, of Kenepuru, was stood down two weeks ago. Mr Te Karu left in April.
This seems to been systematic and cynical fraud. Whitireia students face mandatory deductions of $135 to fund the association, which appears to have been infiltrated by troughers who spotted an opportunity to have their lifestyles funded.
Voluntary membership of Students' Associations looks like a very attractive concept today!