Chairman’s Report 2022
Well it’s fair to say that Covid-19 has presented us with yet another year of drama and disruption and sadly it seems that more is yet to come. I feel particularly sorry for our Auckland venue operators who basically had to sit out a four month lockdown, while the rest of the country were not as badly affected. I do however recognise that it has not been an easy ride for any of you and so once again I thank all of our venue operators for your resilience and determination by not letting Covid-19 beat you – well done!
While I do not want to turn this in to an anti NZ government rant, it is my humble opinion that we should follow our friends across the Tasman by learning to live with whatever Covid-19 and its variants throw at us. The Government’s initial elimination strategy clearly did not work and the current containment strategies are meeting with limited success so in my opinion it’s time to move on and create a new normal for ourselves.
TTCF is very proud of its role in supporting local communities through most parts of the country but the fun did tend to go out of the game when not only did we have very limited funds available for distribution over a sustained period of time but many community groups were reluctant to submit an application because of the uncertainty that surrounded their particular event or activity. And to further complicate the situation many events and activities that had been funded previously were cancelled or not persevered with and as a consequence we received an unprecedented amount of refunds.
I am pleased to say that things have definitely improved in recent times and we are looking forward to supporting our local communities to the same extent as we did pre Covid-19. Our distribution for the last financial year was well spread across the four main categories of grants as is illustrated in the table below i.e. Community Wellbeing (43%); Education (14%); Environment, Heritage & Arts (11%); and Sport & Recreation (32%). The TTCF directors consciously adjust their funding strategies to try and best match each region’s local needs and priorities.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) recently initiated an overall review of the Class 4 Gambling Sector. It is of great concern that they have labelled the sector as having the most addictive form of gambling available here in NZ and accordingly some of the measures they are proposing will mean that our gaming machines would no longer be of much interest to most people who currently enjoy playing them. So pubs, clubs and community groups need to put up a united front to ensure the Department does not get its way. Don’t get me wrong, every sector needs to undergo a reform process from time to time but this one has too much of a predetermined negative focus.
Sadly, unregulated overseas based online gambling websites would end up being the biggest winner if such reforms were to be introduced. In relatively recent times Kiwibank made it public news that their customers spend $30m per month on online gambling, 80% of which goes off shore. One would have thought that this would have set off alarm bells for regulatory authorities such as DIA but we are yet to see any evidence whatsoever that they are taking this matter seriously.
One plea that I will make to all of our venue operators is to up the ante when dealing with any actual or potential problem gambling types of situations. Anything you and your staff can do to ensure that when a player illustrates some or all the signs of a problem gambler then the matter is addressed as quickly and diplomatically as possible. Your designated Area Manager is always available to offer support, advice and additional training if and when required.
It is definitely going to be a long haul back to total normality but we will get there. History shows that adversity has a habit of testing most generations one way or another and we are simply having our turn at present.
Thanks to all TTCF personnel for keeping the ship afloat over the past couple of years. Also I wish to recognise the support of our Executive Director, Warwick Hodder, as well as my fellow Directors Horace McAuley, Gary Williams and Janet Clews who have also had a difficult year keeping things in order throughout all the disruptions we have had to endure. I look forward to working alongside each and every one of you in the future.
Warren Flaunty QSM