What happened to the millions of dollars donated from all around the world to Christchurch mosque shooting victims?
In the weeks and months after the March 15 terrorist attacks, criticism mounted about they way the millions of dollars donated to victims was being divvied up. So where has the money gone? And, a year later, what has been learnt about how to handle funds?
Today on The Detail, Sharon Brettkelly talks to RNZ Christchurch reporter Katie Todd who has been following the money trail.
As horror grew over what happened, people in New Zealand and around the world dug deep into their pockets.
Initial fundraising pages eventually merged into two, one operated by Victim Support, which received $13.4 million; and the Christchurch Foundation, which got to $11 million.
Todd says the mammoth task of distributing the money is extremely complicated.
“It has been a big challenge. Where do you draw the line and define a victim? Is it people who are physically injured; is it people who were in the mosque at the time of the attack, who weren’t injured but suffered a really traumatic attack?” she says. “That has been a very fluid process … working out who should get this money.”
The bottom line is, you can’t get it right for everyone.
“Some people are thrilled and most people are incredibly grateful,” says Todd. “But in terms of how the consultation process happened and whether they’ve got enough, there’s not a clear answer there.”
“There has been a little bit criticism in terms of the way Victim Support defined ‘victims’ and the way it engaged with the Muslim community and divvied up the money.”
Todd says it has been interesting to see how Victim Support and the Christchurch Foundation reported on how much money they’ve actually distributed and to whom – because in some instances it’s not completely clear. But she does admit that sometimes that’s reasonable because there’s a line between transparency and privacy.
And ultimately, Todd says the donations are gifts and not compensation for what happened.
“They were just a gesture, it’s really still up to the Government to provide the day-to-day support,” she says.
Todd says a big learning curve was recognising that even though some people had the same injuries, they didn’t start with the same resources and support.
“Some of them have had harder starts to begin with and some people are just finding the sheer cost of their injuries and associated things like catching taxis everywhere … buying medicine, or not being covered by ACC because of mental trauma, they’re just spending heaps and not feeling financially secure,” she says.
Todd goes through the figures on today’s episode of The Detail.
Want more from The Detail? Find past episodes here.