COAT-ARM Hastings District Council


Civic Administration Building

Lyndon Road East, Hastings 4156

Phone:  (06) 871 5000

Fax:  (06) 871 5100













Hearings Committee




Meeting Date:

Monday, 11 December 2017

And Continued, in Public Excluded Session, later on 11 December 2017






(The Elbowroom Sports Bar - Territorial Authority Consent Application for Class 4 Gambling Venue,

for an additional four gaming machines -



CG-14-12-00023                                                                         1





HELD IN THE Council Chamber, Ground Floor, Civic Administration Building, Lyndon Road East, Hastings ON

Monday, 11 December 2017 AT 9.00am


[AND Then CONTINUED in public excluded session

later ON MONDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2017



with the decision being released on monday, 15 january 2018

(following a resolution to proceed in open session

in order to release that decision)




Present:                      Chair: Councillor Lyons

                                           Councillors Kerr and Redstone


IN ATTENDANCE:        Senior Environmental Planner Consents (Mrs C Burton)

Team Leader Environmental Consents (Mr C Sutton)

Committee Secretary (Mrs C Hunt)


ALSO PRESENT:          Applicant:

                                           Michael Newrick, The Elbowroom Sports Bar

                               Mr Jarrod True representing the Hastings Returned Services Association (RSA)

                               Ms Jackie Wells, Chief Executive, Club Hastings



                                           Ms Rebecca Peterson, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board

                                           Ms Shelley Burne-Field, Te Rangihaeata Gambling Recovery Services (Hawke’s Bay)


1.         Apologies 

            There were no apologies from any members of the Hearings Committee.


            Submitter: Therese Grevatt, Health Promoter, Problem Gambling Foundation Of New Zealand was unable to attend but had forwarded an email that would be read out as part of the evidence for this hearing.



The Elbowroom Sports Bar - Territorial Authority Consent Application for Class 4 Gambling Venue, for an additional four gaming machines (RMA20170375)

(Documents 17/1275 and 10939#0337)



The Chair introduced the members of the Committee sitting on the Panel for this hearing, and the Council Officers present.  The Chair made his opening comments and outlined the process that would be followed at the hearing, together with addressing “housekeeping” issues. 


The Hearing was to consider an application for an additional four gaming machines at The Elbowroom Sports Bar in Hastings.


The Chair also advised that the Committee had not undertaken a site visit.


Once the respective evidence had been presented, the Committee would undertake its deliberations in Public Excluded (Confidential) Session.



Mr Jarrod True, Hastings RSA spoke to a power point presentation  (Document 10939#0357) and highlighted the following comments:



·         Problem gambling submissions confirm that adding four machines to the existing 14 would be preferable to opening another venue.

·         A modest number of submissions (4) in opposition had been received.  This was a low number, by national standards.

·         3 of the 4 submissions in opposition were from regular submitters who advocated no gambling machines, irrespective of circumstances.

·         4 submissions were received in support.

·         While the application did not meet Clause 6(v) of the policy, the proposal was assessed as being consistent with the outcomes and objectives of the Policy.

·         This is not an opportunity to re-litigate the cap versus sinking lid debate or the merits of gaming machines.

·         The venue is located within 100 metres of a residential zone and determination is to be made as to whether the impact would be more than minor.

·         The venue is already well established.

·         No new venue would be established.

·         Concentration of machines in one venue allows for greater supervision and monitoring by trained staff.

·         14 machines have operated at the site for over 16 years.

·         The additional 4 machines would be in a discreet internal gaming room.

·         No extra signage or noise would result.

·         The additional machines would not be visible from the outside of the bar.

·         The Applicant is highly experienced and a reputable operator.

·         Extensive harm minimisation procedures are in place which have been reviewed and approved by Council.

·         The Applicant has zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour.

·         The area is a deprivation level 8.

·         The policy has a preference for all new and relocated venues to be within the Central Commercial zone with a greater deprivation level 9.

·         If deprivation level 8 was a prohibitive factor then no new venues could be established and no existing venues relocated to that zone.

·         The Problem Gambling Foundation submission was made through its Wellington office, so it referred to National statistics, not local ones.

·         The additional machines would enable the Hastings RSA to increase local community grants.

·         Grant money generated in Hawke’s Bay, stays in Hawke’s Bay.



Ms Jackie Wells, Chief Executive of the Hastings RSA advised that prior to the Applicant taking over The Elbowroom it had had 18 gaming machines. The previous owner could not afford to keep the extra gaming machines.



The Committee then asked questions of Mr True.  The main points that were addressed in response to questions from the Committee included:



·         Harm minimisation is undertaken through District Health Board promotion and staff are trained to look for signs.

·         If a person shows signs of gambling addiction they are given a health promotion pamphlet and a discreet letter on how to seek help.

·         Clients are able to self-exclude themselves.

·         Approximately one or two people self-exclude themselves for a period of six months every one to two weeks.

·         Digital photos on an electronic tablet scrolls faces continually.  The photos are updated once a week.

·         The Applicant knows the local people so it is easy to know who they are.

·         Facial recognition software being deployed and could be installed for the price of one machine.

·         20-30 problem gamblers were excluded from The Elbowroom.

·         Every property within 100m radius was delivered information on the proposal to have additional gaming machines.



Ms Rebecca Peterson, Acting Team Leader / Population Health Advisor, District Health Board spoke to her submission (Document 10939#0363) and highlighted the following:

·         Opposed application as it was inconsistent with Clause 6(v) of the Class 4 Gambling Venue Policy.

·         Increasing the numbers of machines increased accessibility and thereby increased the social impact in an adverse way.

·         While it was the parents who gambled, it was the children who suffered as a result.

·         38% Maori and 28% pacific children were more likely to experience gambling harm.

·         Every new machine created 8 new problem gamblers.

·         Children of gambling parents were more likely to gamble.


Ms Peterson displayed a short video on a real life story of Hoani who shared his problem gambling and how it drove him to steal from his wife.



The Committee then asked questions of Ms Peterson.  The main points that were addressed in response to questions from the Committee included:



·         Ms Peterson was unable to comment in regard to online gambling.

·         Whether a venue was well run or not there would be significant impacts on individual and family.

·         Well run venues would have better systems in place, but would still have an impact on the community.

·         Two of the main groups that gambling impacts on are deprivation and ethnicity.



Shelley Burne-Field, Te Rangihaeata – Gambling Recovery Services (Hawke’s Bay) circulated and spoke to her submission in opposition (Document 10939#0361) of the application and highlighted the following:



·         If increase machines in Hawke’s Bay, this increases the harm.

·         To get a $3.6m grant, over $30m is lost out of local pockets.

·         Venues and bars that support these applications do have something to gain.

·         Each machine provides over $10,000 per annum.

·         The venues around NZ do not know what is happening at ground level and what is happening at the bars with exclusions.

·         The Elbowroom has 80 exclusions at the moment, details of these are held in a folder behind the bar.

·         They have a digital photo frame that is discreetly located behind the bar

·         Te Rangihaeata took photos of clients and was a lifeline to them to have an exclusion.

·         Addiction to the pokies means people often relapse.

·         Unfortunately, The Elbowroom has had numerous undetected breaches.

·         Some clients have gone in and gambled and not been detected.

·         Zero detected this year at The Elbowroom.

·         In comparison Zabeels Sports Bar has13 detected and only 4 not detected

·         The Cru Bar had 11 detected and 0 not detected.

·         Hidden addiction – for New Zealand, pokies are a huge curse on society.


The Committee then asked questions of Ms Burne-Field.  The main points that were addressed in response to questions from the Committee included:


·         Not anti-gambling but help addicted people and have a responsibility that there is no increased harm in Hawke’s Bay.

·         Minor affects referred to in planning report – minor affects have not been defined.

·         Visits were undertaken to 26 venues each week and they take a USB stick with updated photos for electronic photo frame.

·         Visits were undertaken to The Elbowroom every week.

·         The problem was that they were not able to be there every day and they have certain responsibility and legislative framework to work within – they try to speak to bars staff regarding how they can identify people.

·         Unfortunately, that message does not get through.

·         Exclusions are legislated.

·         Facial recognition study – not rolled out and used in local venues.  Working with venues to get something up and running in the future. 

·         It was a tool to take pressure off bar staff.

·         The facial recognition would only pick up clients who have been through Te Rangihaeata and who have had their photo taken.

·         Problem gamblers who have signed up to Te Rangihaeata.

Local people going to local bar, staff would recognised them.

·         Gambling creates 2.5 times more harm than diabetes.

·         Numerous undetected clients had revisited and relapsed at The Elbowroom.




At this point the Chair read into the evidence an email tabled (Document 10939#0358) from Therese Grevatt, Health Promoter, Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand submitting an apology with the following comment noted:


“We hope that a precedent of allowing applicants to breach the policy is not set”.



The Chair then invited the Reporting Planner, Mrs Boulton to address issues raised during the hearing and to advise whether or not she wished to alter her recommendation to grant the application for an additional four gaming machines, having now heard the evidence presented.



Mrs Boulton said it was important to realise that this was not an opportunity to readdress whether more machines were allowed in the district, but to take into consideration whether more machines were allowed into this venue and not re-litigate the sinking lid and capped issue.


Mrs Boulton advised that having heard the evidence and further information received at the Hearing she did not wish to change her recommendation, which was to approve the application.



The Applicant, Mr Mike Newrick advised that he took harm minimisation very seriously and had been approached by numerous people and had acted upon it.  The Te Rangihaeata statistics only show the people who go through the organisation.  He said that families had come to him in regard to a spouse or children who were having gambling problems and he had dealt with them.  The person who was excluded had thanked him for the exclusion.




Mr True then gave his Right-of-Reply, on behalf of the Applicant.  The main points raised and/or the issues on which questions were asked related to:


·         Working together and make this the safest venue in the area.

·         Mr True acknowledged that Mrs Burne-Field worked co-operatively with the venue operators.

·         Facial recognition technology would be a great improvement.

·         Take this opportunity and make it safest venue in Hastings

·         Mr True offered to have a Condition included in the Decision to have four machines that included having facial recognition up and running.

·         Work with Te Rangihaeata with facial recognition and have The Elbowroom used as an example for other venues.

·         Problem gambling - hard to work with, but exclusions do work.

·         Mr True referred to Page 11 of the Problem Gambling Foundation (PFG) submission and the fact that the PFG was not funded to set up statistics.

·         He referred to the video clip played on Hoani’s story, that he had begun gambling when he won $15,000.

·         The maximum you can win on local Club gaming machines was $1,000.

·         In NZ over last 15 years machines have dropped from 25,000 to 16,000 nationally.

·         Problem gambling has gone from 0.4% to 0.3%.

·         Look at local factors of application - lack of any local submissions but have four applications in support.



Mr True provided a copy of “Guardian Facial Recognition System for Identifying Excluded Gamblers” (Document 10939#0359) and “The Guardian Facial Recognition – QEC Process” (Document 10939#0360) to assist in understanding the facial recognition concept.



The Chair, Councillor Lyons thanked the submitters for the delivery and content of their presentations and advised that the Committee would resume in Public Excluded session to commence their deliberations.






Councillor Lyons/Councillor Kerr

That the public be excluded from the deliberations in relation to the hearing of The Elbowroom Sports Bar - Territorial Authority Consent Application for Class 4 Gambling Venue, for an additional four gaming machines (RMA20170375).


The reason for passing this Resolution in relation to this matter and the specific grounds under Section 48(2)(a) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this Resolution is as follows:


That the exclusion of the public from the whole or the relevant part of the proceedings of the meeting is necessary to enable the local authority to deliberate in private on its decision or recommendation in:


a)         Any proceedings before a local authority where:


i)            A right of appeal lies to any Court or Tribunal against the final decision of the local authority in those proceedings; or


ii)           The local authority is required, by any enactment, to make a recommendation in respect of the matter that is the subject of those proceedings.






The Hearing adjourned at 10.15am

and would reconvene in Public Excluded Session for the Committee

to undertake its deliberations.







with the decision being released on monday, 15 january 2018

(following a resolution to proceed in open session

in order to release that decision)



The Elbowroom Sports Bar - Territorial Authority Consent Application for Class 4 Gambling Venue, for an additional four gaming machines (RMA20170375)Continued


The Committee then confirmed its decision in Open Session so it could be publicly released.  The Substantive Wording is set out below.  The full decision wording, including narrative, is contained in a separate document as noted in italics below.





Councillor Lyons/Councillor Kerr


That under section 98(a) of the Gambling Act 2003, the publicly notified application by The Elbowroom Sports Bar, at 1001 Tomoana Road, Hastings for territorial authority consent for an additional four Class 4 gaming machines be granted.






The meeting was formally closed at 11.10am














(Note:  The full wording of the signed hearing decision, is attached as a separate document.  The full decision is circulated with, and forms part of these minutes – the signed decision is saved under 10939#0375 in the Council’s records system).