By WAYNE THOMPSON

West Auckland schools are sending pupils home with advertising material for liquor licensing trusts that face a competition poll.

A letter signed by Portage Trust chairman Ross Clow and taken home by pupils says: "Dear Parent, this year your child's school began the new term with a significant donation from the Portage Trust, amounting to $55 for each child on the school roll."

The letter says Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts have donated over $5 million to schools in West Auckland since 1997. It says the grants were possible only because of trust control of liquor and gaming.

The letter angered Warwick Garrett, who said last night that he would complain to the principal of St Dominic's School in Henderson, which sent his partner's 6-year-old home with the letter.

He objected to the trusts sending out information in this way - using the girl and school to push its cause during the postal vote, which closes on February 25.

Mr Garrett said he supported the trust monopoly being overturned to allow supermarkets to sell wine and beer.

Portage Trust deputy chairwoman Janet Clews said the schools were approached about sending letters but it was left to them to decide what action to take.

One principal said he had not sent out the notices but he intended to.

"I said I would be prepared to forward information from the trusts - they can read it or throw it in the bin if they like," said Kelston Boys High principal Steve Watt.

He said the school had spent trust donations on its auditorium and installing an all-weather sports surface.