An Update from your Mt Wellington Licensing Trust
30 August 2022
Mt Wellington Licensing Trust 2020AGM Update
The Mt Wellington Licensing Trust advises that the Annual General Meeting for the March 2020 financial year will be held on Thursday, 15th September 2022 in Conference Rooms 2 & 3 at the Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre, 58 Waipuna Road commencing at 6pm. Stakeholders are welcome to attend.
10 August 2022
Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre reopens to the public
Ngā mihi nui kia katou,
We are delighted to announce our flagship venue, the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre will re-open for business, following just over two years operating as a managed isolation facility, supporting the Government’s COVID-19 response.
The planned date for reopening is Friday 16th September and we look forward to welcoming you back!
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The Mt Wellington Licensing Trust exists to generate funds that can be invested back into the local Mt Wellington and Panmure communities. Over the years, this has enabled us to support many local schools, clubs, and our senior citizens.
However, with all our enterprises being hospitality, accommodation and events businesses, the impact of COVID-19 means the funds we can generate to invest back into your community have been hit hard.
It’s important we update you on what that means looking forward.
Everybody is aware of the extreme impact COVID-19 has had on the hospitality and visitor sectors, and we are no different. We first want to acknowledge and thank our staff for their tremendous contribution through these COVID times. They have had to adapt to new ways of working, while keeping up the high quality of service they are known for.
The Panmure Hotel and The Corner Bar
In previous updates we explained that we could no longer sustain the losses involved in running two bars at the Panmure Hotel site and made the hard decision to close the Landmark Bar. The Corner Bar continues to operate, but it has been an incredibly hard two years. COVID lockdowns meant it was closed for almost four of the last 12 months. Like hospitality everywhere, business is slowly rebuilding, and Donna and the team look forward to welcoming you.
The Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre
The Waipuna Hotel is the ‘financial engine’ of our organisation. When COVID-19 first hit, the borders closed, New Zealand went into lockdown and the Hotel had to shut indefinitely, the financial future of the Trust was dire. In reality, the Managed Isolation Contract at the Waipuna Hotel not only saved around one hundred jobs, it also saved the Trust.
That contract ends in late August and the Hotel will re-open in September. But the hospitality, accommodation and conference markets face a long recovery. Venues across the country will be competing in a shrunken market. It’s predicted the sector will take as many as 5 years to return to pre-COVID visitor numbers and earnings.
What’s more, parts of the building are over fifty years old, and we know we need to spend up to $10m in the next few years just to repair and maintain the buildings so the hotel can operate successfully in a more competitive market.
The Waipuna team are committed to rebuilding the business. However, it will be a very long recovery and a long time before Waipuna will be able to contribute to the Trust’s investments back into our communities.
We invest in the Panmure and Mt Wellington communities in two ways, both hit hard by COVID-19
Until recently the Mt Wellington Foundation distributed the proceeds from the gaming machines at The Corner Bar back into the community via grants. We let you know that in March 2021 we decided to partner with The Lion Foundation for the management of those gaming machines. For us, this reduces the costs of running the machines, but ensures the funds generated remain local. Your elected Trustees make up the Grants Committee that works with The Lion Foundation to make sure all funds continue to go to remarkable community organisations across Mt Wellington and Panmure.
Mt Wellington Charitable Trust
The Mt Wellington Charitable Trust distributes available profits from our businesses back to local organisations through grants. The Trust also funds the annual Senior Citizens Christmas Luncheons at the Waipuna Hotel. When COVID meant we couldn’t do this in 2021, we instead distributed the funds to Aged Concern, Communicare and other organisations doing a wonderful job helping older people in our area. We’re pleased to say the Christmas luncheons will return this year!
The Charitable Trust relies on profits from our hospitality, accommodation, and conference businesses to make grants. With all our businesses needing time to recover, we don’t know when we will have enough funds to make further grants.
With our venues opening for normal business again, we have done a huge amount of work to understand what this means financially, considering the slow recovery ahead for hospitality and tourism across the country.
The MWLT has assets worth approximately $70m, and it’s the primary responsibility of Trustees to ensure that these assets generate profits that can be returned to the community. Our forecasting shows that it is likely to be several years before these assets will be profitable again and a financial return to the community will materialise.
Through the hard work of our staff, the MWLT is now as close to being debt-free as it has been in over thirty years. Your Trustees are committed to retaining this prudent position.
We have challenging times ahead and we will be in recovery mode for some years. Now, more than ever, the Trust needs to be extremely prudent about the decisions we make, and if required, be prepared to make some hard decisions so the Trust can continue to invest in our communities.
However, these challenges won’t detract from the excitement of re-opening Waipuna Hotel again in the coming weeks.
There will be more information on our website and in our usual channels in the lead up to re-opening.
We look forward to welcoming you!
Noho ora mai
Nerissa Henry Brent Robinson
President Chief Executive
Mt Wellington Licensing Trust Mt Wellington Licensing Trust