Charter clubs are closing or amalgamating throughout the country, Clubs New Zealand chief executive Larry Graham said.

There are simply too many of them and they are too close together in communities throughout the country, he says.

Mr Graham is in Whanganui for the annual Clubs NZ 2018 conference and annual meeting at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre which starts Friday.

He said that Whanganui is a prime example of what he is talking about.


"Whanganui is a good case in point, we've got four clubs along the main drag," he said.

"So we're looking to merge a couple of those at the moment and looking at ways that they can be better served."

Those couple of clubs are the Wanganui RSA and the Wanganui Cosmopolitan Club, which Mr Graham said were doing all right, but "only just making ends meet".

"There's definitely room, we think, for a joint club model and they're willing to have a talk about that which makes things easier. We don't want to be forcing people to do it," he said.

"If they get together, it just makes sense. One power bill, one rates bill and you get a nice club out of it."

Despite club closures, membership numbers are increasing.

"We're losing a few clubs sadly, but it's not an epidemic," Mr Graham said.

"Membership numbers are actually all right. We've been on about a 6 per cent increase in members every year for about three or four years."


Two cities have already had successful club mergers, Blenheim has three under one roof called "Clubs of Marlborough" and there is also a "Clubs of Hastings".

Mr Graham said he knew what the respective managers needed to say.

"The first thing they've got to do is say to the members, 'Look guys, in order for us to survive, we need to be part of a better business'," he said.

"Because it's a matter of the members giving them the okay to have the conversation, because the members ultimately own their clubs.

"Once they've got that mandate, we can help them think about what might best suit Whanganui's needs."

Mr Graham said that the clubs were a community asset.

"Where else in Whanganui can old people wander up, have a cup of tea, sit down and play cards at no cost?"

Delegates attending the conference have come from throughout the country, many arriving courtesy of three Air Chathams aircraft which arrived in the city on Thursday.