Civic Administration Building
Phone: (06) 871 5000
Fax: (06) 871 5100
M I N U T E S
Monday, 11 December 2017
And Continued, in Public Excluded Session, later on 11 December 2017
(Loading Ramp - Territorial Authority Consent Application for Class 4 Gambling Venue,
to establish 9 gaming machines
HASTINGS DISTRICT COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE Hearings Committee
HELD IN THE Council Chamber, Ground Floor, Civic Administration Building, Lyndon Road East, Hastings ON
Monday, 11 December 2017 AT 2.10pm
[AND Then CONTINUED in public excluded session
later ON MONDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2017
IN the GUILIN ROOM, GROUND FLOOR]
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: Environmental Consents Manager (Mr M Arnold)
Team Leader Environmental Consents/Subdivision (Mr C Sutton)
Senior Environmental Planner Consents (Mrs C Boulton)
Committee Secretary (Mrs C Hilton)
ALSO PRESENT: Applicant:
Mr Tony Goldfinch, Regional Manager, The Lion Foundation – presenting evidence for the Loading Ramp
Ms Rebecca Peterson, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board
Ms Shelley Burne-Field, Te Rangihaeata Gambling Recovery Services (Hawke’s Bay)
Several others were also present in the gallery as observers.
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 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 to establish 9 gaming machines at The Loading Ramp in Havelock North.
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 Tony Goldfinch, Lion Foundation circulated and addressed his evidence on behalf of the Applicant, the Loading Ramp (Document 99926#0239), interpolating as appropriate. He gave apologies from Mr Jarrod Lowe, the operator of the Loading Ramp and Ms Emma Lamont-Messer, the Compliance & Operations Manager from the Lion Foundation, who were both unable to attend the hearing. The main points that Mr Goldfinch highlighted in his evidence included:
· Harm minimisation was important but Class 4 was the most legislated form of gambling in NZ and only accounted for 40% of total gambling revenue in NZ.
· This would result in $11.5m in funding levied to problem gambling agencies.
· The Lion Foundation had a positive relationship with Ms S Burne-Field and Te Rangihaeata Gambling Recovery Services (Hawke’s Bay).
· The Lion Foundation worked collaboratively with health agencies, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and the Problem Gambling Foundation.
· Machines on the site wouldn’t attract casual passers-by to gamble.
· The site’s location and harm minimisation training for staff was important.
· No correlation between machine numbers and problem gamblers numbers.
o When machine numbers were >20,000 – problem gambling was 0.40%.
o When machines numbers were 18,000 – problem gambling was 0.7%.
o Currently machine numbers are 15,717 – problem gambling is 0.30%.
· 100% of funds are returned to the community in which they are generated.
· Mr Lowe could close the gambling area earlier than other parts of the site.
· The premises was involved with the trial of facial recognition technology.
· The trial of the electronic exclusion process was in Hastings and Ms Burne-Field was involved.
· The Lion Foundation felt technology would help problem gambling.
The Hearings Committee then asked questions of Mr Goldfinch in regard to his evidence. He explained, in some detail, the various measures that would be put in place to address problem gambling and the training for staff at the premises. The main points that were addressed included:
· Use of high definition CCTV; staff will regularly “sweep” the gaming room and keep an incident register of their observations.
· Photographs of excluded persons were kept in a book accessed by staff and regularly updated by Ms Burne-Field’s team.
· If an excluded person tries to enter a site, staff will notify Ms Burne-Field’s team. Repeated attempts to enter will be reported to the DIA.
· Opening hours for the gaming room were controlled by Mr Lowe.
· The aim to install facial recognition technology at the gaming room entrance.
· Who would hold the information database collected at gaming premises.
· If consent was granted, the Lion Foundation would consider giving an undertaking to report back on effectiveness of technology installed on the site. They were already investing into this technology and its capabilities.
· Future proofing of the premises - for high definition cameras and technology.
Ms Rebecca Peterson, Acting Team Leader / Population Health Advisor, District Health Board circulated and spoke to her evidence (99926#0240). The main points that she highlighted in her evidence, or that were addressed in response to questions from the Hearings Committee included:
· The focus has been on new technology.
· She had concerns about the auditing and reporting back aspects.
· Any Hastings and Havelock North specific data showing changes in the level of problem gambling or harm from increasing local machines numbers?
· Ms Peterson had read some information on this topic.
· She was asked to forward this to the Committee Secretary for circulation to the Committee and the Applicant.
· She wanted to see the machine numbers reduced to minimise harm.
· Was there greater harm from a new site or an increased number of machines at an existing premises? This depended on how a site was managed.
· She could not comment further on the other existing local gaming premises.
That morning, at a hearing involving the same Hearings Committee members, in regard to an application by the Elbowroom Sports Bar, made under the same section of the Gambling Act 2003 - Ms Peterson had 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.
With the agreement of Ms Peterson, the Chair had ruled that the video did not need to be replayed at the Loading Ramp hearing but it would be taken as part of the evidence for this hearing as well as at the earlier hearing.
Ms Shelley Burne-Field, Te Rangihaeata – Gambling Recovery Services (Hawke’s Bay) circulated and spoke to her evidence (99926#0241). The main points that she highlighted in her evidence included:
· DIA had provided the information showing expenditure on gaming machines in Hastings and Havelock North combined – turnover through local machines.
· Her agency “picks up the pieces” caused by problem gambling.
· She noted there were good gaming premises, but felt “we should get our own Hastings house in order first” before using technology like facial recognition.
· There was no incentive to close down a gaming premises if it generated a large amount of revenue each month.
· They were getting very few problem gamblers referred to their organisation from some of the local premises.
The Hearings Committee then asked questions of Ms Burne-Field in regard to her evidence. The main points that were addressed included:
· Did the level of local harm change after the Happy Tav closed and the loss of the gaming machines located there?
· In the last two years the number of problem gamblers referred to their organisation had reduced.
· She supported the point made by Jarrod True, at the Elbowroom Sports Bar hearing that morning – more harm was created by a site rather than the number of machines at a premises.
· The use of harm minimisation policies was just talk and was not necessarily being followed up on. It was something for some premises to hide behind.
· She had spoken with other agencies and the DIA and Ministry of Health about how the current system was “broken” and how best to proceed.
At this point the Chair read into the evidence an email tabled (99926#0235) 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 Reporting Planner, Mrs Boulton advised that she had nothing to add to what had already been said at the hearing. She did not want to alter her recommendation to grant consent to establish five Class 4 gaming machines.
The Hearings Committee then asked questions of Mrs Boulton in regard to her report and the matters that had been raised during the hearing. The main points that were addressed included:
· The exact distance between Turk’s Bar and the Loading Ramp entrance? Turk’s Bar was 35m (straight line distance); and 99m walking distance.
· The distance between the Loading Ramp entrance and the HN Play Centre?
· Agenda Page 5 – the site was within 100m of residentially zoned land (St Columbus Church).
· The Loading Ramp has two entrances.
Mr Goldfinch then made a Right-of-Reply on behalf of the Applicant and responded to questions from the Hearings Committee. The main points that were addressed included:
· He agreed with a lot of the comments made by the two submitters.
· A cap on machines had been introduced within the district.
· The Applicant had wanted to establish machines on the site and was serious about his responsibilities, as site operator.
· He recapped on the provisions to address problem gambling on the site.
· The effectiveness of these provisions at gaming premises relied on the quality of venue management and staff.
· He supported having a safe supervised gambling environment, rather than the supermarket lotto counter; the racecourse; or a TAB self-service terminal.
· The aim of the premises was to provide an overall entertainment package, not to simply generate revenue from the gaming machines.
· The HN community would benefit from the revenue/turnover generated, and agreed the system was “broken” and needs to be addressed.
The Hearings Committee then asked questions of clarification of the parties who had presented at the hearing. The main points that were addressed included:
· Mr Goldfinch was asked to comment on the figures that Ms Burne-Field had presented, and to confirm whether he had been referring to the loss per year in his earlier evidence.
· He said there was no direct correlation between the turnover and the loss figures. He estimated that the $17m figure would “be more like $14m. ”
· He felt the information had been based on a “five-quarter” period of time.
· Ms Peterson was asked to comment – she noted that the monies extracted out of the Hastings economy ($17m) equated to the proceeds from the machines that comes from people’s pockets.
At this point, Mrs Boulton advised that the distance from the Loading Ramp entrance to the HN Play Centre was 87m in a straight line and that the walking distance would be slightly longer.
At this point, the Committee noted several points that had been raised during the hearing and asked the two submitters present, Ms Peterson and Ms Burne-Field for further information to be considered as part of the Committee’s deliberations. This further information related to HB specific data on changes in levels of problem gambling or harm arising from the increase in the number of local gaming machines; and statistics on Hastings community expenditure on Class 4 gaming machines.
The Chair thanked the Applicant and the submitters for the effort they had put into the presentation of their evidence and for their attendance at the hearing.
It was noted that the hearing would now be adjourned and the Committee went into Public Excluded Session to undertake its deliberations.
Councillor Lyons/Councillor Kerr
That the public be excluded from the deliberations in relation to the hearing of The Loading Ramp - Territorial Authority Consent Application for Class 4 Gambling Venue, to establish 9 gaming machines (RMA20170377). 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.
(Later that afternoon (11/12/17) and the following morning (12/12/17) electronic copies of three emails containing further information, from R Peterson (HB District Health Board) and S Burne-Field (Te Rangihaeata Gambling Recovery Service (HB)) were forwarded to the Committee Secretary (99926#0242; 99926#0243 and 99926#0244).
These emails were passed on to the Hearings Committee members (99926#0246; 99926#0247; and 99926#0248).
In the interests of openness and transparency, the emails were also passed on to both the Applicant’s representatives, T Goldfinch and E Lamont-Messer (Lion Foundation) – (99926#0250; 99926#0251; 99926#0252; 99926#0253; 99926#0254; and 99926#0255).
The Hearing adjourned at 3.25pm
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)
Loading Ramp - Territorial Authority Consent Application for Class 4 Gambling Venue, to establish 9 gaming machines (RMA20170377)…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, territorial authority consent be granted for The Loading Ramp, at 8 Treachers Lane, Havelock North to establish five Class 4 gaming machines.
(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 99926#0264 in the Council’s records system).
The meeting had been adjourned at 4.15pm (on 11 December 2017)
and following deliberations, including consideration of the further information that had been requested, it was subsequently formally closed
(via an email from the Chair to the Committee Secretary 99926#0265),
on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 3.30pm