24 May 2024

Mike King was unaware of chairperson's links to National Party

8:56 am on 24 May 2024
Mike King

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Comedian and advocate Mike King says he had no idea the chairperson of his charity had links to the National Party.

The coalition government this week announced $24m in funding for Gumboot Friday charity I Am Hope.

Questions have been raised about donations made by the charity's chair Naomi Ballantyne to the National Party.

Founder, Mike King, told Morning Report he hadn't known Ballantyne had donated to National but said she was entitled to do so.

"She's a private individual, she can donate to who she wants to, what I can tell you is this organisation, or myself, have never donated any money to any political group."

The government funding was offered before Ballantyne was involved with the charity, he said.

King said he hadn't asked for it, but would put the entire $24m towards counselling services.

"I never applied for the money, but it was offered to us and we're gratefully accepting it.

"I stand by what we're doing, I'm grateful for the money, and if Labour had offered us the money, I would have taken it."

He said the former government, under then prime minister Jacinda Ardern, gave the charity $600,000 in 2022.

"This isn't the first time that a government has thrown money at a charity."

I Am Hope and Gumboot Friday was not the solution but took care of a need, King said.

"It is not an instead of approach, it is an as well as approach."