● The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF Inc) ● The Trusts Community Foundation Ltd (TTCF Ltd) ● Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) ● Professional Rugby ● Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport ● Harness Racing ● Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) ● Gambling Commission ● Pokies ● Rorts ● Organised Crime ● Serious Fraud ● Political Interference
### NZ Herald Online Tuesday 8 October 2013
Super City elections 2013: West’s ‘ugly’ culture has Tamihere fuming
By Steve Deane
Colourful talk radio host MP John Tamihere wants to change what he sees as liquor trusts’ unhealthy monopoly from the inside but they defend set-up as democracy in action, saying proportion of payouts to turnover is about to pick up.
[pub crawl ensues in West Auckland – see full article]
What we’ve just seen [on the crawl], he says, is an example of how West Auckland’s alcohol licensing trusts use their control of the region’s pubs to maximise gambling revenue through pokies. The gambling money, he says, is then used to peddle influence and spread pro-trust propaganda, which reinforces the position of the liquor trusts.
The West’s drinkers are suckers, says Tamihere. They pay over the odds for their booze at the trusts’ bottle stores, are forced to drink in dives and are subjected to banks of pokies when they do. “It’s an ugly drinking culture,” says Tamihere. “It sets up a false world where the leadership of the trusts can make out that we don’t have any drinking problems out West. That is because we migrate them into town or over on to the Shore. No right-minded youth or family will go out anywhere in the West because they are dives. The culture has been perverted by the way the trusts just want to monopolise pokies.” Tamihere wants to get elected so he can change things from the inside. But is change really necessary? Like many things involving the colourful talk radio host, the answer is not straightforward.
Two weeks later we take another tour, this time with Ross Clow, the long-serving president of the Portage Licensing Trust and chairman of The Trusts Community Foundation.
As well as rebutting Tamihere’s ugly drinking culture claims, Clow’s aim is to show where the money from the liquor trusts’ combined $100 million turnover is going. Money, it will surprise no one, is at the heart of this issue. TTCF’s accounts show it paid $10.57 million in pokie revenue to West Auckland causes last year. Clow stands firmly by the claim that 97 per cent of the cash raised out West is returned to the West. He should know. As president of the Portage trust he is responsible for making the recommendations to TTCF on how money raised in its venues should be spent. Given he is also chairman of TTCF, Clow could be accused of making recommendations to himself. He defends the system as a sound way of making sure the money goes to the right places and insists he recuses himself when TTCF votes on Portage’s recommendations.
Tamihere disputes figures surrounding the return of money to West Auckland, but says he won’t be able to prove his case until he gets access to the trusts’ full accounts. “If I have to go to the High Court to break it open I will,” he says. “There is something not right here. I know my community. There is nothing like that being spent out here.”
Then there is the question of who really distributes the money. For years statements issued by the liquor licensing trusts have indicated the money comes from them. It doesn’t. It comes from TTCF, which is a separate financial entity.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr