Pokie cap backed

Te Awamutu’s brass band is benefitting from grants.

Martin Bradley

The operator of 108 gaming machines at seven venues in Te Awamutu and Cambridge is supporting a cap on the number of pokie machines in Waipā.

Limiting the total to 232 would mean Grassroots Trust can maintain its 47 per cent of the market and continue to generate funding for community organisations, it says in its submission to the council’s Gambling in Waipā review.

The council received 234 submissions and will consider them at its October Strategic Planning and Policy committee.

Waipā has 106 pokie machines in Te Awamutu, 72 in Cambridge, 36 in Leamington and 18 in Kihikihi.

Of those, Grassroots have 45 from three venues in Te Awamutu – Joy’s Place, Oval Sports Bar and the Firkin Sports Bar – 27 from two in Cambridge – Prince Albert and The Clubhouse – 18 in Leamington at 5 Stags and 18 in the Star Tavern, Kihikihi.

The rest of the operators include Pub Charity and Trillian trusts, Milestone and the Lion foundations.

Grassroots distributed $2.371 million in grants to 61 organisations in the 12 months ended July 31.

The organisation is the fourth largest class four operator in New Zealand and the largest in the North Island.

Executive chairman Martin Bradley said Grassroots supports a capped policy which would contain any growth in gaming machine numbers despite the district’s population growth.

Currently there are five gaming machines per 1000 adult residents which could be expected to be less than four by 2050.

The trust supports the status quo policy of not allowing new venues allowed across the road from a school or licensed early childhood centre and supports the ability to relocate pokie machines.

“Often these relocations are to newer, smaller, modern and more vibrant premises that create a positive entertainment precinct, supporting the local economy and encouraging tourism to the area.

“Permitting venues to relocate can also have some harm minimisation benefits such as relocating venues from high deprivation areas to low deprivation areas assisting to minimise risk of gambling harm,” Bradley says in his submission.

Grassroots regularly exceeds the minimum regulatory requirement to return 40 per cent of gross proceeds to authorised purposes.

“It is Grassroots intention to distribute funds back to the community that it was generated from – across the sport, community and education sectors.”

Among the biggest recipients of grants in the year to July 31 was the Te Awamutu Rugby Sports and Recreation Club which got $125,000 for salary costs including the Director of Rugby and event costs for the Te Awamutu cycling tour, $100,000 for field lighting, $87,000 for the senior men’s coach salary and other costs, $59,000 for salaries, physiotherapy services, indoor centre lease and medical supplies and $4500 for future physiotherapy services.

The Order of St John central region gets $204,000 towards purchasing a Gen4 ambulance for Te Awamutu.

Other Te Awamutu grants include the intermediate school which got $50,000 for purchasing and installing turf, the squash club has a $40,000 contribution towards renovating the changing rooms, Marist Club has $35,100 to install field lights and two marquees and $20,000 on repainting the exterior and interior club room toilets, Te Awamutu Golf Club $20,000 for a feasibility study, the Youth Development Trust has $10,800 to buy a large mirror and two cross trainers, the football club will spend $7325 on purchasing football equipment and playing uniforms for the junior team and $7000 on two portable goals, Te Awamutu Tennis $5520 for tennis coaching, Te Awamutu Brass Band $3938 for three toilets and two vanities for a bathroom upgrade.

Te Awamutu College gets $20,000 for sporting uniforms, Te Awamutu Netball $5800 on stadium costs for its premier and reserve teams and the Citizens Advice Bureau has a $5000 contribution towards the manager’s salary.

In Kihikihi, the primary school gets $51,340 for a multi-use turf on the netball court, Waikato Rodeo receives $14,600 for event expenses, the kindergarten gets $3500 for seven play cubes, the rugby club has $29,670 for reroofing the clubrooms, $19,900 for goal posts and a scrum machine and $14,175 for uniforms and playing/training equipment.

Pirongia Rugby Club gets $35,000 towards playing uniforms and equipment, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust $25,000 for purchasing biosecurity stations on the maunga and Stewart Alexander Golf Club $25,000 towards the club manager and course superintendent’s salaries.

Ōhaupō School receives $10,000 towards buying Chromebooks, ipads and a basketball hoop tower, Pokuru School, southwest of Te Awamutu, has $17,300 for school uniforms.

Finally, Puahue Hall Association gets $43,280 for refurbishing its wastewater system, Riverside Golf Club has $20,000 to build a covered driving range at its Tīeke course and Te Kōpua Marae $3666 for an AED defribrillator.

The rest of Grassroots board of directors are Kevin Burgess (pharmacist), Jeremy O’Rourke (real estate), Tracey Gunn (barrister), Gary Troup (sports marketing) and Fraser Lellman (accountant).

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