What are The Trusts?
West Auckland has two licensing trusts: Waitakere Licensing Trust and Portage Licensing Trust. They operate together as ‘The Trusts’ and have 26 bottle stores, 8 bars and one hotel. Established in 1972, the licensing trusts hold a monopoly over bottle shops and pubs/taverns in their districts which extend from Avondale/Blockhouse Bay through to the fringes of Kumeu/Riverhead.
Why do The Trusts have a monopoly?
From the early 1900’s through to the early 1970’s, West Auckland was a no-license (i.e. dry) area. Voters chose to go ‘wet’ in 1969, and under the laws at the time, were given the opportunity to choose between private licensees or licensing trusts. They chose licensing trusts and the Waitakere and Portage Licensing Trusts were subsequently formed. Their exclusive rights to certain types of alcohol licenses remain in place until they are removed by a competition poll..
What would competition mean for West Auckland?
Competition simply means allowing others (not just The Trusts) to hold all the different types of alcohol licenses in West Auckland.
Competition doesn’t mean ‘getting rid of’ or dissolving The Trusts. It doesn’t mean the end (or even a reduction) of community funding.
What would be the benefits of competition for West Auckland?
Competition would mean entrepreneurial locals (as well as larger companies like the supermarkets and Costco) would be able to sell alcohol in West Auckland under the same rules enforced across New Zealand.
Residents would be able to buy beer and wine locally at their supermarket, or from a bottle store not operated by The Trusts. Prices in West Auckland wouldn’t be higher than elsewhere any more.
There would be a more local bars/eateries, providing greater range of choices for keeping it local when going out for a drink and/or a meal.
Competition would bring more colour and vibrancy to West Auckland as well as more local jobs and investment.
How can we remove the monopoly and allow competition in West Auckland?
The public can choose to remove the monopoly via a competition poll (i.e. a referendum). A poll can be triggered by a petition signed by 15% of people in the area, or by the elected board resolving to conduct a poll. West Auckland’s only competition poll was held in 2003.