The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Guilty plea the only option


The Department of Internal Affairs says former New Zealand Rugby League chairman, Graham Carden had little choice but to plead guilty when he saw the evidence gathered against him in a two-year investigation relating to the misuse of poker machine money.

Carden, 56, from Porirua, was sentenced today in the Wellington District Court to 21 months’ imprisonment after earlier pleading guilty to six representative charges of forgery, making false declarations, using a document with intent to defraud and dishonestly using a document. The offending involved events during 2003 and 2004. He set up two false companies and received grants from charitable trusts, which he misappropriated for personal use.

Internal Affairs’ Deputy Secretary Keith Manch said Carden originally pleaded not guilty to 126 charges covering the range of offences he was sentenced for today.

“Having seen the compelling, detailed nature of the evidence gathered during our investigation Carden had little option but to declare his guilt,” Keith Manch said. “We disclosed to the defence some 6000 to 7000 documents and had 55 witnesses standing by for a jury trial which would have taken four weeks and probably cost about a quarter of a million dollars.

“Proceeds from poker machines are used by trusts to benefit community causes, not to line the pockets of fraudsters, and whenever anyone abuses the system it is the community which is the victim.”

The Crown sought reparation of $125,210. Judge Denys Barry ordered Carden to pay $42,000 reparation and granted him leave to seek home detention.

Media Contact:

Keith Manch, Deputy Secretary, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 9329; cell 021 227 6363

Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679