The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Key individuals interviewed in pokie grants investigation

5 December 2013

The Department of Internal Affairs confirmed today that key individuals in Operation Chestnut have been interviewed as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged manipulation of gaming machine grants.

The investigation is being conducted jointly by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Department of Internal Affairs and the Organised Financial Crime Agency of NZ (OFCANZ).

The Department’s Director of Gambling Compliance, Debbie Despard says this continues to be a significant and complex matter with a range of serious concerns.

“It is the largest investigation in the history of the gambling sector. More than 100,000 documents are being examined and material is still being collated.”

“The investigation will conclude in the first half of next year and the full range of prosecution and licensing sanctions will be utilised in respect to those involved."

“As part of the inquiry, key people of interest have been identified who have been interviewed this week. Other interviews may follow.”

Ms Despard says: “It’s time for those in the sector who are breaking the law to understand they will be held accountable. We’re determined to do everything we can to clean things up and working with the SFO and OFCANZ enhances our ability to do this.

“We expect those that participate in the gambling sector to be accountable, responsible and act within the law.”

“The integrity of the pokie grants system is essential to prevent any group gaining unlawful advantage over grant funding, which deprives genuine community groups of obtaining grants for their legitimate causes.”

Information is still being gathered and the investigation is on-going. In the meantime the Department, the SFO and OFCANZ will make no further comment.

Media contact

Sue Ingram | Communications, Account Manager
Direct Dial: +64 4 494 0584 | Mobile: +64 27 541 4696