Trust House hurt by tourist slide

By Don Farmer,


Bottom line profits for Trust House have dipped by $500,000 in the past 10 months, compared to the same period last year.

But chief executive Bernard Teahan rejected claims the organisation was cash-strapped.

Mr Teahan said total profits were down in the 10-month period from $2.4m to $1.9m but the balance sheet was "very strong" and had good cash flows.

Distribution of money to the community was on-going with around $40,000-$50,000 being allocated to Wairarapa just this week.

Three boards catered for the Trust's distribution area, being Flaxmere, Rimutaka and Wairarapa.

Flaxmere and Rimutaka boards were each allocated about $450,000 a year and around $1.5m went to Wairarapa.

Mr Teahan said homes owned by Trust House had a high occupancy with 95-96 per cent presently tenanted.

But he said market conditions and a countrywide fall in visitor numbers were making hotel occupancy, along with bars, cafes and restaurants "hard work". "The visitor market has dropped off right through the country," he said.

"Copthorne Solway Park has had a downturn in occupancy, as have hotels right throughout New Zealand.

"There has been a dropping off in domestic, internal and international bookings," Mr Teahan said.

Bar, cafe and restaurant trade was being affected by changing drinking patterns and the fact people were dining out less often.

Likewise bottlestores had been subject to "intense competition" from supermarkets "and that is going to continue on into the future." He said Trust House had ventured into supermarkets "to get a balance in that area".

In the past year $900,000 had been invested in a Four Square at Solway, an investment that had brought extra jobs.

Also Trust House has invested $700,000 on the Kourarau Hydro Works, near Carterton.

"If we were broke we wouldn't be investing in hydro electricity," he said.

Mr Teahan added that despite a dip in profits, staff were not being laid off.


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