A Few Things You May Not Know About The Trusts
Every three years there are local body elections held, at which you also get the opportunity to vote who you’d like your elected members to be on either the Portage or Waitakere Trust boards. Our elected members help us to Give Back in ways that are relevant and make a difference in our community. They’re local people, making local decisions for the people of West Auckland and they are elected onto The Trusts by the community of West Auckland.
This post explains why The Trusts exists, what we do and how we give back to the community of West Auckland. We will also outline how we ensure alcohol is served responsibly and share some independent research that illustrates the impact The Trusts are having on alcohol related social issues in West Auckland.
Why do The Trusts exist?
Licensing Trusts across New Zealand were set-up to let the public decide how liquor is sold in their community. Public ownership (the West Auckland community owns The Trusts) is delivering very well in West Auckland and has done for decades. Every time there has been a referendum on whether The Trusts should continue, West Auckland has voted strongly to keep The Trusts. Independent research tells us that that public strongly supports The Trusts:
- because of the way we strongly promote a socially responsible liquor culture
- because of the large number of community causes and organisations that benefit from our support
- because of the direct say our community has in to the management of liquor (bars and liquor stores) of The Trusts
Are the Trusts accountable?
We’re totally accountable to the public. The Trusts are governed by people you elect. If you don’t like the job elected members are doing, you can elect other people. The next opportunity to vote for elected members is coming up in October 2016. If the public tell elected members they don’t like the job The Trusts are doing, the elected members can instruct us to do things differently. You know who “our bosses” (the elected representatives) are and you can contact them any time you want to express your opinions. If you’re unsure who they are, their names and phone numbers are on our website. You can also view our audited financial reports on this website.
How do The Trusts serve liquor responsibly?
We have robust systems to prevent the sale of liquor to minors. We have not failed one police Controlled Purchase Operation (sting) for many years and they’re been hundreds of them. We have 24 stores in the whole of West Auckland. This is to strike the ideal balance between providing a first class service and convenience without having too many outlets for the good of the community. Similar sized areas to us in the rest of Auckland have over 100 stores compared to our 24 and have a higher number of those stores selling to minors (as per Police Controlled Purchase Operation results). Communities that have a “liquor store on every corner” often have social, health and crime problems. The majority of Westies don’t want that. They approve of what we’re doing to keep the vulnerable people and youth of “our town” as safe as we possibly can.
To increase the “Giving Back” for the good of the community we need to grow the business. But we have chosen not to grow by selling more alcohol to the same people:
- We have invested into making our stores the best in the country and world class in some respects. This has attracted more customers which is fueling our growth.
- We have invested heavily in no and low-alcohol products to help satisfy the needs of more customers and emerging trends.
Our culture is to:
- encourage responsible drinking
- encourage people not to drink and drive
- provide food
- encourage sober drivers
- refuse to serve people who have obviously had “one too many”
We are modernising our bars and restaurants and positioning them to be good neighbours. Our restaurants will be modern community friendly offerings. We have a strong working relationship with the Police and Council Liquor Licensing Inspectors to prevent or address any issues with our operators should they arise.
How do The Trusts ‘Give Back’ to West Auckland?
Last year we gave back around $1 million from liquor sales alongside investing millions recently on refurbishing all our liquor stores to make them best in industry and we’re now working on improving our bars and restaurants.
This year each household (all 80,000 of them) in The Trusts area had the opportunity to collect a free Toolkit from us valued at $16.99. We’ve given away over 40,000 of them at a total value of close to $700,000. Last year each household in The Trusts area had the opportunity to collect two free photoelectric smoke alarms valued at $34.99. We distributed around 50,000 of these too and already saved houses and lives. We gave back to 200 West Auckland community causes from the big ones to smaller causes where a few hundred dollars can make all the difference to a school or local community group. No other trading business puts as much money into West Auckland than The Trusts. If the private liquor industry was to enter the market, we don’t believe they would give as much as we do back to the community as their private or offshore would take this share as dividends or profit. We have traditionally sponsored from liquor profits:
- The Trusts Arena which is officially the most utilised events centre in the country. It makes a huge contribution to the richness of West Auckland.
- The Mystics. We back them every year.
- The Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation that gives scholarships every year to young West Auckland athletes in all sports. For the last 19 years every New Zealand Olympic ands Commonwealth Games team has included at least one Don Oliver Scholar, and there were four at Rio.
- The Portage Ceramics Awards, the most prestigious in the country.
- The Trusts Art & Sculpture Awards, again the most prestigious community arts awards in New Zealand.
- The Trusts Spooks and Sparks, Auckland’s largest and most entertaining public fireworks extravaganza.
- The Trusts New Zealand Bowls Open which is a national tournament that brings lots of expenditure from attendees in to the West Auckland community for the annual event.
Separate to liquor profits, TTCF donates about $8 million to West Auckland every year from profits from the TTCF operations in our venues. These profits over many years have made a vast difference to the community of West Auckland. Our relationship with TTCF means they give the maximum possible in profits raised in West Auckland back to West Auckland. The elected members make recommendations to TTCF on all local grants, that’s a real benefit having locally elected people you vote for, making local decisions about local money.
What are the independent authorities saying?
- Auckland Regional Public Health Service Needs Assessment: Community Action on Alcohol Policy: February 2012 (Author – Nicki Jackson) noted West Auckland had the lowest incidence of alcohol and drug related crashes in Auckland Council zone urban areas, the lowest severity of alcohol and drug related crashes, the lowest incident of drink driving prosecutions (as based on data from NZ Transport Authority).
- In fact in 2011 an NZTA report noted urban West Auckland had the 30th lowest risk of alcohol related crashes across all of New Zealand’s 71 Local Government areas. We were well behind many other urban centres.
- The Auckland Council Quality of Life Survey 2010 showed the West Zone were in the bottom half of perceived alcohol problems in the Auckland area and the research showed significantly more positive perceptions of alcohol related issues in West Auckland versus other areas of Auckland.
The facts show Trusts are good for the community they serve.
We hope this post has clarified some of the questions you had about The Trusts. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.
We look forward to continuing to play our part in making West Auckland a great place to live.