Donations to Christchurch Foundation almost double to $10m

8:59 am on 28 June 2019

The Christchurch Foundation fund for mosque attack victims has almost doubled to $10 million.

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The memorial for the victims of the mosque attacks on 15 March where 51 people were died. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

In a letter sent to victims the charity said it would announce today how it would develop a plan to share out the money - which includes an additional $4m on top of the $6m it has already received.

It said the extra money comes from several large gifts from businesses and individuals, many from overseas, and $1.3m comes from the You are Us concerts. Some of the money was given on the condition it was spent in specific areas.

Christchurch Foundation said it was still waiting to receive some of the donations.

It said the money was for the medium- to long-term support of victims' families and the wider Muslim community, and that local Muslims would be involved in deciding how it would be spent.

It comes as Victim Support said yesterday it would begin to hand out the last $2.5 million to victims today, and comes on top of three previous payments bringing the total distributed to more than $12m.

The Christchurch Foundation said it had been waiting until Victim Support finished distributing its money before the foundation began to pay its out.

Abdul Aziz chased the alleged gunman away from the Linwood Mosque, and he has been critical of the way Victim Support distributed its donations.

He said he feared the foundation could make the same mistakes.

The foundation's advisory group is set to be chaired by Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji, and will include four or five members of Christchurch's Muslim community, and a Christchurch Foundation trustee.

Mr Aziz said the group must also include victims of the terror attacks.

Christchurch lawyer Andrew Oh wants the Christchurch Foundation to talk to the survivors before it decides how to distribute the $10m in donations it has received.

Mr Oh is unhappy the foundation's advisory group - as outlined in a letter sent to victims - does not appear to include survivors.

"As soon as you start getting into an area where you are starting to try and make assessments about what people need over a period of years you start getting into some very difficult situations and have to make some very difficult decisions."

He said there will be differing views about how the money should be allocated.

"We've just got to be really cautious about a group of people making decisions for a group of victims, when they haven't really gone through a clear process of understanding what they need."

He said Victim Support found that out and managed to address it before the money was distributed.

"I think they've done a really good job at the end of the day, I'm just hoping that we learn from those lessons."

Mr Oh said at this stage the Christchurch Foundation did not seem to have had any discussions with victims' groups, although they have been waiting for Victim Support to finish their distribution.

"What they really need to appreciate is that these victims will now start turning their eyes towards them and trying to understand what they're going to be doing for them. And I'm just hoping they've got a really good process to do that and I'm hoping that it's not going to drag out for weeks and for months - it's a real concern for me."

Mr Oh said it is difficult to see what the Christchurch Foundation has in mind because the letter sent out was very generic.

A protest about the way donated money is distributed, organised by Mr Aziz, is scheduled to take place today.

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