Invercargill Licensing Trust

Invercargill has this peculiar thing - in New Zealand terms, anyway - that's called Invercargill Licensing Trust and it occurred to me that it may be interesting for you to learn about it.

It's an organisation that, for all intents and purposes, could be described as rather Nordic in its thinking. It is basically a council-run agency which is set up to 1) manage and 2) tax alcohol (and its "related" activities such as accommodation/restaurants/bars/etc) and the proceeds are channelled back into the community.

So, for example: if buying a case of beer from an alcohol store in Invercargill, the place is run by Invercargill Licensing Trust, ILT, and the price of beer is more than it would be in Christchurch or Dunedin or whatever. Or if going to a restaurant where wine is served, the same thing: it's taxed.

Think of it kind of like Sweden or Finland: alcohol is more expensive, because it's taxed.

But then profits from alcohol go back into community development, so for example, off the top of my head: if a neighborhood gets together and decides that they want to upgrade the playground their children go to, they apply to ILT for funding and will probably get a grant to do (or at least help with) the work. If a sports team wants to attend a competition in Auckland, they apply to ILT to help with the cost and will probably be (at least partially) funded.

The list of grants they have given out over the years is up on their website, and the latest recipients of their grants are listed here.

It's almost like taxes on lotteries and gaming - proceeds go back to community development.

But because New Zealand as a whole doesn't have such taxation on alcohol/etc in general - like it does on lotteries and gaming - then Invercargill has created an agency just for this purpose within its city limits.

It does mean that right outside the city boundary there is an "independent" alcohol store where people can buy their case of beer for $2 cheaper :), so some people do take the 5 km drive to go there - but overall, ILT has done a lot of good for this little town down South which, if it weren't for ILT, wouldn't have nearly as many things for people to do than it does now.

Because it continues to amaze me, it really does, how much Invercargill has to offer considering how small the population is. The fact that there is a large stadium, in indoor cycling arena, a large swimming centre, dog parks, skate parks... the variety is amazing. Heck, a large part of my study is funded by ILT, and grants of $1,000 are available to many full-time students.

And I continue to think, well done, guys.

Well done.

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