October 17, 2016
Love message too strong for AGM
The chair of Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust says he can’t see an alternative to former chair Sir Ngatata Love serving a jail sentence.
Neville Baker presided over a rowdy annual meeting at Pipitea Marae over the weekend, as relatives and supporters of Dr Love turned out in force to attack existing trustees rather than hear how they got the books back in the black after five years of losses.
Dr Love this month started a 30 month jail sentence for stealing $1.5 million from the Wellington Tenths Trust in an elaborate scheme involving incentive payments sought from developers.
Radio Waatea host Willie Jackson wrote a column saying the 79-year-old ended up in jail because he was Maori, but Mr Baker told him the tribe has been waiting for Dr Love to be held accountable for betraying the trust they put in him.
"It does send a very strong message to say if you do this, ultimately you could go to jail. The judge did start at seven years, and then he gave him discount for work he had contributed, took into account his present health and stature, but I do not see that there are alternatives here," he says.
Mr Baker says Ngatata Love has an appeal coming up next month, with the possibility his sentence could be reduced or extended.
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