Destiny splashes out on pricey cars

Church charity paid for $100k Audi

The New Zealand Herald/October 12, 2014

By Bevan Hurley

Destiny Church bought five cars - including a luxury Audi - through one of its charities that is more than a year overdue in filing an annual return.

Financing statements filed with the Companies Office show Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Ltd bought a new Audi Q7 valued at $100,000, to be used by church leaders Brian and Hannah Tamaki, on a lease purchase arrangement.

The charity, which last filed an annual return in 2012, also bought four Toyota Aurion Sportivo SX6 3.5s valued at $27,990 each.

According to the Charities Register, the charity's main purpose is for community development, religious activities and fundraising.

The Tamakis posed for pictures in front of the Audi, which has a personalised number plate PROT0N, and posted them to social media.

The purchase of the Audi was signed off by Tania Pene, the Tamakis' closest advisor.

Independent charity researcher Michael Gousmett was gobsmacked a charity had bought a six-figure vehicle.

"That's not what charity is about. These organisations are here to provide public benefit, and if you've got members of this organisation running around in super-expensive vehicles, you've got to ask the question to what extent are they providing public benefit rather than looking after their own self interests?"

He said it had become common for a charity to also be listed as a limited liability company.

"I wonder how much this is being taken advantage of in the charity sector."

In June, Hannah Tamaki took out a personal loan against an E350 CDI Mercedes Benz - which retails for $99,000 new, and held on to the PROT0N number plate.

Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited's last annual return filed with the Charities Service was for the year ending 30 March 2012. It was one of 14 Destiny-affiliated charities that are late in filing their annual returns. Destiny Church's spokeswoman, Anne Williamson, did not return a request for comment.

The Charities Service told the Herald on Sunday last week it had sent late notices about the overdue filing of the 14 charities.

Charities that flout regulations can lose their charitable status.

Meanwhile, Destiny applied for a resource consent to expand its operations in the "City of God" facility in Manukau. The Church was given permission by Auckland Council to expand its auditorium to seat 1600, a childcare facility for up to 150, a 600-strong school roll, and hundreds more car parks. The application was approved in May.

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