Buoyant trust pays out more than $1m

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The Gore community has benefited from more than $1 million after another positive year from the Mataura Licensing Trust.

Its just-released final review for 2018-19 shows $496,000 was returned from profits, which was up $51,000 from last year, MLT general manager Mark Paterson said.

About $532,000 was distributed through its gaming arm, The Trust Community Foundation (TTCF), he said.

This meant a total of $1,019,000 was funnelled back into the community.

The MLT recorded a pre-tax profit of $511,000, Mr Paterson said.

“We’ve had record turnover this year. To beat that is great in a non-[Southern] Field Days year.”

MLT board president Horace McAuley was thrilled with the contribution the board was able to make.

“The board is delighted to keep up, and pass, what we have previously done,” he said.

“We have managed our cost structure very well.

“The board and management have worked very very hard for this.”

The result was due to the support the MLT received from the community, he said.

“We are very lucky to get tremendous support from this community, even in these hard times.”

Mr Paterson said gaming revenue was up 13% this year.

“Gaming has been strong. More people are playing gaming machines but it’s given us another $100,000 to give back into the community.”

Gaming made $700,000 available for distribution back to the area this year.

Accommodation led the charge, up 11% to $1.38 million, followed by bottle store sales, up 3% to $15.6 million, and food, up 1% to $3.86 million.

Mr Paterson put the increased revenue down to more people being in the area.

“Town is a lot busier, there’s more people around – you can see that in real estate.”

Bar turnover was in line with last year at $3.8 million.

This was pleasing, as the construction of the Mataura Valley Milk plant had concluded and there were no Southern Field Days, he said.

Mr McAuley said liquor sales in general had shown a good return.

“It’s not a major concern the way it has become in other parts of the country,” he said.

Mr Paterson said sundry income improved by 6% to $1.33 million, helped by increased brewery rebates, gaming venue payments and interest income.

Running costs increased by 5% on last year. This marked a return to 2017 levels, which was encouraging, considering the wage increases absorbed, he said.

The MLT sold the Gordon Bowling Club in May, bringing to a conclusion the sell-down of non-performing assets in the trust’s portfolio.

The trust would support several big projects this year, including the Maruwai Project at the Hokonui Precinct.

“We’ve been there to support before and we’ll be there to support again – we’re happy to be there,” Mr Paterson said.

A new website has been launched to provide easier access to the MLT.

“It lets people know it’s a community-owned organisation to support and enhance the region, it’s easier to access board members and the team and how to apply for funds.

“It provides a better promotion of Gore facilities to attract visitors and revenue to the region, for everyone’s benefit, and promotes job opportunities for our young people.”

The website went live earlier this week at mltgore.co.nz.