‘Sinking lid’ remains
South Waikato District Council is strongly supportive of responsible drug and alcohol management and is involved in various processes: The new legislation around control of gambling venues, the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act; and our local Liquor Accord Group. Gambling: Council has just reviewed its Gambling Class 4 Venue Bylaw. We have retained the concept of ‘‘sinking lid’’, which means that if a licensed premises closes for six months or more, the licence becomes void and the district effectively drops the number of venues by one. A good example of the ‘‘sinking lid’’ concept working in practice is the Oxford Royal Hotel in Tirau which closed in November last year; it has been more than six months so any new operator won’t be able to have gaming machines at the venue. Effectively there is one less premises and 18 fewer machines in the district now.
Another recent amendment under the Gambling Act is that there needs to be more transparency around where the money comes from and where it goes. In simple terms machines are owned by Trusts. Approximately one third of the income goes to tax, one third back to the Trust for things like administrative costs and premises rental charges and one third back to the community – from where the funding came.
Because gaming Trusts make donations to national organisations, it is difficult to track the level of spend back to individual communities. The change in legislation means that there needs to be more transparency around this issue. Liquor: There are two areas of Council involvement here.
Council is a representative on the local Liquor Accord Group. This group is driven by the liquor premises owners/operators in the district ( including clubs, bars, supermarkets and bottle stores). Council, the District Health Board and Police sit on the Group to provide information on legislation changes, health incident statistics and police (crime) statistics and trends. The aim of the Accord is to focus on their responsibility for the sale and supply of alcohol. It is driven by the premises owners with Council’s full support.
The Sale and Supply of Liquor Act was enacted last December. The key changes are that all liquor licences will now be approved by a newly introduced District Licensing Committee. This committee consists of people who must be competent, respected by the community (have standing) and have relevant experience. Council has appointed Councillors Machen, Glucina, Gash and Shattock to this Committee. Councillor Shattock was appointed as chairperson. The District Licensing Committee sits independent of Council. It does not report to Council. Previously liquor licences were approved by Council staff with some sent to the Liquor Licensing Authority (LLA) for approval..
SINKING LID: There are 18 fewer machines in the district since council introduced the Gambling Class 4 Venue Bylaw.