The security company at the centre of the Sunday programme's expose into Rotorua’s emergency housing situation is under the microscope, it's been confirmed.
Tigers Express Security (formerly Visions Security) is alleged to have hired unlicensed guards, including patched Black Power gang members to work at emergency housing motels. The company subcontracts to emergency housing provider Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable trust. Both organisations are run by Rotorua man Tiny Deane.
On Monday, Visions trustee Taniya Ward told 1News “allegations around the security guards were investigated six months ago by PSPLA (Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority) and found to be unsubstantiated.”
Housing Minister Megan Woods also told the Sunday programme claims against the company were unsubstantiated.
However, the PSPLA has confirmed there is an active investigation into Tigers Express Security (formerly Visions Security), being carried out by the Complaints Investigation and Prosecution Unit (CIPU) at the department of Internal Affairs.
“Complaints have not yet been substantiated but are currently under investigation,” PSPLA chair Trish McConnell says.
McConnell told 1News the CIPU investigation began on March 2nd after a complaint from a member of the public. Later, on May 19th, McConnell says the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) advised via email that “a number of allegations have been made to them about Visions of a Helping Hand and Visions Security Limited.”
"The email did not outline any details about the allegations made but only Vision’s response to the allegations and Vision’s supporting documents,” McConnell says.
Five days later, Companies Register details show Visions Security changed its name to Tigers Express Security.
The current CIPU investigation is looking into allegations of gang members without the required certificates working as security guards, allegations that Tigers Express was employing security guards who did not have the required certificate of approval or licence, and whether the officers of Tiger Express Security had the required experience to be granted a company licence and whether they were suitable to be certificate and licence holders.
“The CIPU investigation is ongoing,” McConnell said.
Meanwhile, ACT has joined the call for an independent investigation into the issues raised in the Sunday story about emergency housing in Rotorua.
ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden says “this inquiry needs to point out whether or not the complaint process is acceptable and accessible for families living in emergency housing…people have complained and their complaints haven't been taken seriously, and we need to know why that has been.”
National’s Housing spokesperson Chris Bishop has written to the Auditor-General asking for an inquiry into the issues raised by the Sunday programme.
“I would urge you to consider conducting an independent investigation into the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s management of emergency housing with the aim of restoring public confidence and trust.
“The matters raised by the Sunday programme suggest that Government oversight of the contracts it has with the providers of emergency housing is lacking,” the letter reads.
On Monday, the Government revealed it had hired a QC “well before” the TVNZ expose to look into HUD’s response to allegations against Visions and Tigers Express.
HUD says the QC is Simon Mount and the work is ongoing.
“Mr Mount has not been engaged to investigate any allegations,” HUD says.
Do you know more about this story? Contact Kristin Hall at [email protected]
© TVNZ 2022