Flexibility for community housing and gaming, rather than a focus on liquor, is behind the Masterton Licensing Trust's resolution to become the Masterton Community Trust.

The trust passed a resolution on Tuesday to reform as a community trust, a move described by Trust House chief executive Allan Pollard as "wise" in a climate of declining hospitality revenue.

Masterton Licensing Trust is the major shareholder of Trust House, which operates the trust's assets such as licensed premises and businesses, the Featherston Gateway supermarket and shops, and rental accommodation.

The Trust House Foundation is a Class 4 gaming foundation, holding the gaming licences and distributing the grants from gaming machines at the trust's licensed venues.


The conversion will assimilate Masterton Licensing Charitable Trust, which makes recommendations to Trust House for the distribution of grants.

The resolution will be publicly notified within 10 days, and Masterton voters have the option to call a poll.

Mr Pollard said the move away from the traditional alcohol model of a licensing trust means they will "not be beholden" to liquor.

Community housing, and gaming, are two areas Mr Pollard believes Trust House is good at. "There's no plans to exit any local businesses, but it is an extremely difficult marketing sector to operate in.

"We've come through some hard times, restructured management, exited or sold 10 outlets, there's 120 people less than when I took over two and a half years ago."

He said management made a decision that if businesses were not adding value, something needed to be done.

"We are not going to sit around and wait for markets to pick up.

"Markets have changed, with liquor and hospitality, it's become one of the most difficult sectors to get funds back to the company.


"Clearly, it's social housing and gaming.

"We can really deliver that."

He said they manage gaming machines with "the utmost duty of care.

"The community trust is a much better model for gaming than any other model."

Mr Pollard said the move is about future-proofing the company's core purpose: to enhance community well-being.

"We're not changing the operational model, but this gives me greater flexibility.

"It allows us to do things not consistent with a licensing trust."

"It will be more efficient, cost-effective, and we can concentrate on the business."