June 15, 2011

Council Retains “Sinking Lid”

The Kaipara District Council has just completed a review of its Class 4 Gambling Venue and Board Venue Policy 2011. Having received overwhelming support for its “sinking lid” approach Council has retained this. What this means is that as machines and venues are surrendered they will not be replaced. The effect of this since 2003 has been a gradual reduction of venues and machines within the Kaipara District.

Council received 144 submissions, of which around 10 submitters asked to be heard in support of their submissions. The Hearing of Submissions took place in Maungaturoto on 9 May 2011. As a result of listening to these submissions Council made a number of decisions.

One of the submitters Council heard from the New Zealand Racing Board, who was the only submitter out of the 144 submissions received to comment on TAB Venues. The Racing Board submitted on two points. It asked that Council separate its Class 4 Gambling Venue and Board Venue Policy into two documents, something a number of other Councils are electing to do. Class 4 Gambling and Board Venues are dealt with under different Acts. Committee Chair, Councillor Julie Geange said “it made sense to the Committee that this document be separated into two so Council can deal with each under its respective Act”.

It also asked Council to permit up to two Board Venues in the Kaipara. The Kaipara has no Board Venues. It does have five TAB facilities. The Racing Board has no plans to open a TAB Venue in the Kaipara but would like the option to do so in the future. Councillor Julie Geange said “Council consent is not required to open a TAB facility in a bar, hotel or club. We don’t believe that operating a TAB in these less supervised bar environments is the best place for a TAB to operate”.

The Dargaville Club made a personal plea. It lots its licence and therefore the ability to have gaming machines in 2007. This was due to a change in the policy operated by the Department of Internal Affairs. This change was successfully challenged in September 2010 however Council’s Policy did not permit the Club to regain its machines. The Club asked Council to permit it to hold up to 4 machines. Councillor Geange said “This was a unique situation that the Club found itself in through no fault of its own. Our records show that the Club was operating two machines at the time it lost its licence and Council is happy to offer the Club the opportunity to return to the same situation it was in before it lost its machines”. The Council resolved to permit the Dargaville Club to apply for a licence to hold up to two gaming machines and not the four it was seeking.