Portage Licensing Trust

For the Licensing Trust elections, I think we need a revamp for the rating system

RATINGS GUIDE:

It’s going to be a different approach to the candidates for Portage Licensing Trust. 

Due to the unique situation in these Trust elections, my recommendations are based on whether a candidate is competent, double or triple dipping, and their views on a referendum on the Trusts monopoly. 

Some of the candidates are terrible or inexperienced, so if they’re in favour of the trust monopoly I support them. Some of the wards require tactical votes to keep nasty or experienced incumbents out.

One tick means I’m comfortable with voting for them (up to five ticks)

One cross means I’m opposed to voting for them (up to five crosses)

There is a local misconception that The Trusts Stadium in West Auckland was built and is owned by the Trusts. That isn’t true. The trusts are naming rights sponsors. The annual value of their sponsorship of the stadium is unknown but their total spend on sponsorship in 2017/18 was $128,000.

The Trusts stadium cost $28.02 million to build and was completed in 2004. The Trusts Gaming and Alcohol operations contributed $5 million.

In West Auckland, alcohol sales are permitted but the Waitakere and Portage Licensing Trusts have a coercive monopoly on administering them. Very few supermarkets sell alcohol (Pak n Save Mt. Albert has a separate Portage Trust checkout within the store. Countdown Lynnmall has a separate wine only shop opposite the supermarket).

The last opportunity West Aucklanders had to vote on ending the monopoly was in 2003, in a postal referendum which enjoyed a higher turnout than most local body elections. The attempt to end the monopoly was defeated 58.5% to 41.5%. I volunteered by handing out material outside supermarkets and the defeat was disappointing.

There has never been a referendum since, though the West Auckland Licensing Trust Action Group began collecting signatures to trigger a new referendum last year. It takes 15% of residents within a trust area to sign a petition to require a vote be held. I enjoyed collecting signatures with WALTAG on a few occasions. I don’t drink, I don’t live in the West but it is a matter of freedom and principle. 

My understanding is the petitions are close to their target but WALTAG has decided to make the 2019 Trust elections a bit different. The Trust boards can also vote to end their monopoly, so activists for choice are standing for election!

Portage Licensing Trust – Ward 1

3 seats

Kathryn Davie – Community Independents

Kathryn and Paul Davie are involved in one of the two One New Zealand parties, having founded One New Zealand and been expelled by their board. Both lost their real estate jobs after numerous screenshots exposing their views on immigration, Islam and multiculturalism were made public. Paul is quoted as stating “New Zealand is God’s land not Maori land.”

Everyone says dumb stuff sometimes. Everyone regrets saying something they really wish they hadn’t. Kathryn and Paul deleted their comments and show no hint of regret.

Just don’t vote for them. Seriously.

Paul Davie – Community Independents

See above.

Catherine Farmer – City Vision

Currently on the Portage Licensing Trust, Whau Local Board and a qualified planning commissioner. She’s triple-dipping and screwing low-income connoisseurs.

Her priority if elected is to ensure all Trust employees are paid a living wage, something the Trust had decided not to do because they believed it wouldn’t help their image. On September 24, Portage Trust u-turned and voted to pay the living wage from 2020.

Sam Learmonth – Trusts Action Group

“I work full time as a lawyer and have been involved in many community groups over the years. I have the skills to work with a large number of divergent positions in order to reach outcomes that best serve the community.

“As a trustee for Portage Licensing Trust, I would ensure that West Aucklanders have more say on how The Trusts are run and would work towards having Trust run venues that rank amongst the best in the city. I want to ensure that the community is getting real benefit from The Trusts.

“As a member of Trusts Action Group, we stand for greater choice, transparency, and democracy which is why we also support a referendum on whether The Trusts should maintain their monopoly.

“I am supportive of an evidence based approach to preventing alcohol related harm and would advocate for more research on the purported benefits of the licensing trust model in West Auckland, especially in light of proposed tighter controls that have been proposed by Auckland Council. West Aucklanders were last given the chance to vote on maintaining The Trusts’ monopoly in 2003 and I fully support the democratic right of West Aucklanders to have another vote on the issue. I am fully supportive of retaining The Trusts, but the exact form of which ought to be debated to see whether there is a better way of doing things.

“I would like to see a larger percentage of profits returned to the community and a shift away from strategies such as “The Million Dollar Mission” which has significant marketing costs that I do not think can be justified. I would also advocate for a move away from things such as branded first aid kits being given to the community. I would push for larger cash grants instead of heavily marketed material which seems primarily driven to advertise The Trusts. For example, in my view, the $500,000 spent on branded first aid kits would be much better given to the many needy causes in West Auckland.”

Shefali Mehta – C&R – Communities and Residents

Not currently on the board. Wants more money returned to the community. No comments on ending the monopoly.

Kurt Taogaga – City Vision

Kurt is a believer in the current model and pledges to continue the status quo.

He believes the Trusts are poorly understood and wants to change that. Maybe it was the West Liquor store promotion asking people to recall their craziest memory on a certain type of alcohol to enter a draw for a $200 Prezzy cards? Over 130 people entered.

The Trusts spend $200,000 on marketing to promote their Million Dollar Mission, giving grants to community groups.

The group spent $500,000 each year giving away smoke alarms and screwdriver kits over the past two years. I shudder to think the effect thousands of screwdriver kits splashed across the community may have had.

I think Kurt has a poor understanding of what people quite accurately understand about the Trusts.

Margi Watson – City Vision

Margi has served on the Trusts for one term. She is proud of giving $3 million back to the community over the last three years.

The Trusts made profits of $24 million during Watson’s term. They gave back $3.3 Million, plus $528,000 worth of screwdriver kits in 2016 and $600,000 worth of first aid kits (some of which were later recalled due to contamination of the saline liquid eyewash.)

MY RECOMMENDATIONS: There are three positions and only one Trusts Action Group candidate. Vote strategically to prevent the Davie’s joining him.

  • Sam Learmouth – Trusts Action Group
  • Catherine Farmer – City Vision
  • Margi Watson – City Vision

Portage Licensing Trust – Ward 2 

2 seats

Wayne Davis – Independent

“I remember back in 1974 shown the Te Atatu Tavern as it was called.

It was what it meant to be.

A family orientated bar, with the emphasis on FAMILY?

Had many a loving meal there, and back then was playing senior rugby for Te Atatu.

Most of the senior teams used the Tavern for selling raffles for fund raising trips.

now many years later, and after the Petition .

The Trust has been in some sparkling g events, and I would like the Trusts to bring back family bars?

NOT just booze bars, BUT what the Trusts were originaly intended for.

The Te Atatu Tavern is the first Trust tavern, but NOW many go to the Te Atatu RSA because it is cheaper to drink?

Not saying they should drink more, but it seems the Trust has plans for the Tavern.

I have not taken much notice of the Trust’s in the past?

Other than when I lived in Te Atatu Norh for about 18 years, the Tavern was very important, as there was a Public bar, and a lounge bar, and you dressed to suit where you dined.

Or going there after a hard days work,many who drank there, had much of their work provided by other patrons.

This was the scene for many Trusts bars, as guys would like to have a meal with family.

EVERY Trust bar had its own identity, whether it was the “flying jug” in New Lynn, or the many that are no longer.

I would love to see some sort of identity, in the bars we have, and would hate to see them priced out, because the Trust owns a great deal of them.

To begin with, I would see what has been done, and where is the Trust going for the future?

Do they have a ten year plan, or are they just building when they manage to find good land?

I believe the Trusts have to be accountable to the people who have voted for them?

Certainly like to have a transparent Trust, and one that will look after its staff.

Also like the idea of the miminum wage.

Worked for the Trusts many years ago, as a barman and security.

I have spoken out in the past and been very vocal, but NOW would like to see from the inside.

So a VOTE for WAYNE DAVIS, would be a VOTE you might have wanted to do yourself.

I am there to make sure, every one is accountable.”

I don’t think Wayne has the faintest idea what he is talking about. Vote for him.

Pam Nuttall – Labour Party

Nuttall was elected just a year ago during a by-election and lacks the experience of the other Labour party incumbent. Vote for her.

Leanne Taylor – Labour Party

With one term on the board, Taylor is proud of what has been achieved so far. She’s got to go.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Wayne Davis – Independent
  • Pam Nuttall – Labour Party

Portage Licensing Trust – Ward 3

(2 seats)

Janet Clews – Independent

“There are newcomers who may not yet realise the benefits the west enjoys which other parts of Auckland do not. If those folk wish to challenge the Trusts position there is a proper process set out in legislation for that to happen by way of a poll. Any poll must be paid for by the Trust. But as an elected member my role and that of all those elected, is similar to that of a company director, which is to see that the business is operated according to law, and is profitable. It operates as a business enterprise under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol legislation, not the Local Government Act. While I support the right of anyone to collect the required 15% of signatures to demand a poll, I will not support the costs of a referendum without that level of support. But I do support more information being freely available as it now is on The Trusts website, which includes the latest financial information. I am happy to talk to anyone who wishes to learn more.”

Neil Henderson – Future West

Neil has been on the Portage Trust for nine years, no doubt a good supplement for the salary he makes as a Waitakere Ranges Local Board member.
I think you have a better chance at removing him from Portage Trust than the Local Board. It’s about time Henderson got a proper job.

Noel Watson – Trusts Action Group

“One key reason for standing for The Portage Licensing Trust is, West Liquor Glen Eden, the busiest bottle store in New Zealand. Yet they have left us bereft of any hospitality options in our neighbourhood.

I’d encourage more funding to local groups and new, exciting choices in venues.

As a member of Trusts Action Group, we stand for greater choice, transparency and democracy – which is why we support a referendum on whether the Trusts should hold a monopoly on alcohol sales.

“Portage Licensing Trust while running one of the busiest bottle shops in the country (in Glen Eden), has let down Glen Eden over the years. Portage has not met its obligation under the current monopoly model to provide good hospitality options in West Auckland. I believe both Waitakere and Portage Licensing Trust should be more transparent with their financial reporting.

MY RECOMMENDATION: You have two votes and Neil Henderson should find another job.

  • Janet Clews – Independent
  • Noel Watson – Trusts Action Group

Portage Licensing Trust – Ward 4 

(2 seats)

Andreas Bodenstein – Independent

“Priority for community organisation funding, encourage youth projects and integration of people new to the country.”

That is the entirety of Bodenstein’s candidate profile. I can’t find any other information about him.

Ross Clow – Labour Party

Clow is already on Auckland Council and has been President of the Portage Licensing Trust for a very long time. Over the last six years, Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts have made $42,603,000. They have given back an average of $1,072,000 annually in that time.

He’s double-dipping while rorting West Aucklanders at the bottle shop.

Ben Goodale – Trusts Action Group

“Having grown up with parents in the licensed trade, I’m well aware of the positive community aspects of a thriving local nightlife with better options for dining, drinking and entertainment. I firmly believe that Titirangi and the West could do better.

The Trusts were established to serve West Auckland, but they need to work much harder to deliver for the community and their monopoly stifles interesting developments and choice. A change is needed in the way they operate.

A member of the Trusts Action Group advocating for greater choice, transparency and democracy, I support a referendum on the monopoly. This will give the community a choice.

“Having attended the recent Portage Licensing Trust AGM it was totally clear there is no strategy to improve the options in our area, and no desire to do so either. While The Trusts put emphasis on it being all about giving back, the evidence is that this is patchy and usually trivial (eg first aid kits). Meanwhile, their set of accounts indicate appalling financial returns from their operation of licensed premises; demonstration that they are failing to appeal to the population of the West, and don’t know how to run a successful tavern business.

“We support the democratic right of West Aucklanders to choose between competition and monopoly and will call for a referendum.

We would commission an independent, unbiased assessment of the pros and cons of competition and make that report publicly available to help voters make an informed choice.

We believe The Trusts should remain strictly neutral on the issue with any advertising in the lead-up to a referendum targeted to maximise voter turnout and provide unbiased information only.”

Mark Roberts – Future West

Mark is a supporter of the Licensing Trust but believes they are not giving back to the community as much as they could.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS: Tactical vote to remove Ross Clow. You have two votes.

  • Ben Goodale – Trusts Action Group
  • Mark Roberts – Future West

Portage Licensing Trust – Ward 5 

(1 seat)

Ami Chand – Labour Party

Elected unopposed.

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