The trusts faq mobile

Your Questions

Thanks for stopping by. Check out our frequently asked questions. And if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for, feel free to ask. We’re here to help.


  • Up until the 1940s, alcohol was prohibited or restricted in many parts of New Zealand. As prohibition faded out, many communities were still concerned about having a community-minded approach to the sale of alcohol. Licensing trusts were established in response to this and the first, the Invercargill Licensing Trust, was established in 1944 and is still going strong today.


    It wasn’t until the early 1970s that West Aucklanders voted to establish the Waitakere Licensing Trust and Portage Licensing Trust. The law allows for the Trusts’ mandate to manage alcohol sales in West Auckland to be challenged and every so often it is. The last time was in 2003 when a referendum was held and residents voted to retain the model.

  • No. The Trusts do not control liquor licensing, that is Auckland Council’s responsibility. Like anyone who wants to open a licensed venue in West Auckland, we must apply to the Auckland Council for a licence to operate our stores and venues.

  • We don’t. We have not opposed any licence applications in West Auckland for several years. The only venues that we have a community granted mandate to operate exclusively are those that trade late into the night (bars) where the primary focus is the sale of alcohol. These venues operate under a Tavern licence as required by the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (2012).

  • No. Anyone can open a hospitality venue under a restaurant licence in West Auckland and there are plenty of licensed clubs too. These venues don’t have to sell food with every drink.


    You are welcome to have a drink with or without food at more than 100 licensed hospitality venues in West Auckland already, with more planned to open from a range of different operators.

  • It’s true you can’t buy wine or beer in most West Auckland supermarkets, as it is part of what our community voted for to manage the retail sale of alcohol in West Auckland under a licensing trust model. There are a range of views on this topic, but one of the pieces of feedback we often hear is that the small inconvenience of not having beer and wine in supermarkets is worth it for knowing there is community control over the number, the location and the operating hours of liquor stores in our community, and that profit made is distributed back to West Auckland.

  • Today, all donations made by the Trusts come from profit in our retail stores, bars, eateries and investment portfolio.

  • Gaming laws require proceeds from gaming machines to be managed by a separate gaming society. In our venues this is The Trusts Community Foundation (TTCF), a separate organisation to The Trusts. TTCF is a national gaming foundation which distributes profit from gaming machines nationwide.


    Some of our venues have gaming machines and a number do not. The total number of gaming machines in our venues has reduced by 50% since 2014. Under New Zealand’s gaming laws, elected members of your licensing trusts have a say in recommending the distribution of gaming funds raised in venues in their local communities.

  • We listen to a wide range of voices in our community and there are a wide range of views. Some people would argue the Trusts model is more relevant today than ever as a growing number of social enterprise business models are valued for putting community needs ahead of just profit.


    Many people in our community do not want liquor outlets in every small cluster of shops, or 24-hour alcohol sales, or alcohol sold in places where children are more likely to be exposed to it as an every day commodity alongside the groceries.


    Many people value the fact that profit from alcohol sold in West Auckland goes back to the West Auckland community.


    We work hard to listen and evolve our business to meet changing needs in our community. As long as the community continues to vote for the licensing trust model, we will always take our mandate for selling alcohol in a responsible way seriously, with the wider community’s best interests at heart.

  • Yes, they are. Hospitality is a tough business and we are continually working on our businesses to ensure they are providing customers with a great experience and performing well to support our giving back.


    We open new venues where we see an opportunity to run a financially sustainable business and from time to time we refurbish or close those venues which have passed their use-by date.

  • Elected members are paid $280 for each meeting they attend, which is on average two per month. The presidents of each Trust receive a total annual honorarium of $30,000 each gross before tax.

  • We have robust processes in place for setting remuneration. All salaries are reviewed and benchmarked by an independent, external remuneration advisor to ensure we are paying fair market rates and attracting the right people to lead and grow your community-owned businesses.

  • It’s important to distinguish between revenue and profit. Our giving comes from our surplus profits based on our hospitality, retail and investment business

  • We have to be competitive on price in our retail stores to succeed. Prices fluctuate in different stores depending on promotion and pricing strategies. We do regular price comparisons and on any given day we can be the cheapest in some product lines and more expensive in others, but we always aim to provide good value for money. We put time, money and effort into our team delivering great service to you.