Organisers' relief after contest gets go ahead

By Aaron van Delden

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Eides Sports' surf-fishing contest will go ahead.

The annual, $40,000 event had been put on hold until it was able to meet newly-enforced legislation requiring a licence, available to non-commercial groups, clubs and societies, for spot-prize draws worth more than $5000.

The legislation means the Eides Sports-run contest is legally entitled only to have prizes of $500 or less.

But the Department of Internal Affairs has now confirmed it will allow the event to take place next year, granting a reprieve for organisers to arrange a licence in time for the competition in 2014.

Co-organiser Grant Clark said he sought legal advice on the matter and was told the event neither could nor couldn't go ahead, so a decision was made to proceed with the contest held between South Mole and Whangaehu River for 15 years.

The confirmation that no action would be taken by Internal Affairs in relation to the event in 2013 was a relief, nonetheless.

The surf-fishing contest will be held during the last weekend of February.

Mr Clark said that, for whatever reason, the level of enquiry for the upcoming tournament had been overwhelming.

Organising the event was several weeks behind schedule - entries were due to open last month - but Mr Clark was confident the contest would be a success.

A complaint from a pokies trust prompted Internal Affairs' crackdown on spot prizes. The trust said its business was being undermined by events such as A&P; shows and trade shows that gave away large prizes.

Internal Affairs said fishing competitions were still able to award prizes for catching the most fish, or the biggest fish, because this was regarded as a skill. Prize draws that involved an element of chance had to comply with the Gambling Act 2003.

Mr Clark said all the contest's prizes were given away each year, so if few fish were caught, they became spot prizes and were drawn under police supervision.

He told the Chronicle the event would not be viable if prizes were held over until subsequent competitions.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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