Meet the ILT board candidates


    Voting for the ILT by-election started this month with five candidates vying for a seat at the board table. Southland Express reporter Luisa Girao asked all the contenders what motivated them to throw their hat in the ring for the seat, with the resignation of Mike Mika. Each candidate was given a 50-word limit to answer each question.
    Voting papers can be returned by post until tomorrow. After that date, residents would need to cast their votes at the ballot box at the Invercargill City Council Civic Administration Building in Esk St, or at the Invercargill Public Library in Dee St. Voting will close at noon on May 27.

    The three questions for the five candidates were:
    What is your motivation in standing for the ILT board?
    2. What would like to accomplish if elected to the board?
    3. What is your position in relation to ILT’s revenue gained through pokie machines?

    Louise Evans
    1. I want to help the ILT create a brighter future for Invercargill, and engage, retain and
    attract the next generation of Southlanders.
    Having a younger voice around the ILT board table is vital in creating positive change in the city.
    Decisions this board makes will impact my life, and the culture of the city I’ve chosen to
    return to. I’m here to offer diversity of thought, more fun, respect for manaakitanga,
    and innovative change.

    2. I’d like to see the customer at the forefront of decisions influencing the culture of Invercargill.
    If we create experiences we love, others will see Invercargill the way we do — an epic place to live and play.
    Give staff the opportunity to buy into establishments and inject personality into the
    city, and support the ILT to get local food on local menus.
    Invercargill may be small, but we deserve a vibrant city like any other.

    3. I’m acutely aware of the harm gambling can do in a community.
    I also understand and have grown up with the Licensing Trust and ILT Foundation as
    major sponsors for everything from football clubs, cycling facilities, and academic grants.
    This dichotomy between minimising community harm and maximising community
    opportunities should weigh on anyone elected.
    While I think change takes time, I’m pleased to support management like Lisa-Maree as a
    national advocate for helping minimise the effects of gambling harm.


    Reece McDonald
    1. I want to see our community thrive. I want to help build on the success of what the past members of the ILT have built and further enhance what the ILT delivers.
    I want to help leave a legacy for future generations.
    I run a successful business, through which I’ve been involved with many community and
    cultural events, I’m acutely aware of the role the ILT has in returning profits to the  community it serves.

    2. Our city is going through change, I believe that the ILT should be working closely with
    the ICC to make this city its best possible version.
    We should be an influencer of attracting more people to the region and recognised as the provider of places where people want to meet as a first choice.
    Better communication and listening more to our community, I want to increase the returns to our community so more people benefit.

    3. While some view gambling as an unnecessary evil, for most it’s a recreational activity they choose to do in moderation.
    There are many forms of gambling available to people and it’s a personal choice to play or avoid gaming machines. The ILT has a strong harm-minimisation programme in place to deal with problem gambling and the net proceeds benefit the city and its residents, which I think is the best outcome we can ask for.


    Jason McKenzie
    1. I have had seven years on the ILT Foundation board and I have seen first hand the
    crucial piece of the puzzle ILT has played in our community in the past and will in the
    I’ve experienced the positive impact ILT has on the well-being of our community across all sectors and now this is a chance for me to give back and contribute my skills to help
    ensure that continues.

    2. The organisation has been led strongly through challenging times and it’s important there is a smooth transition following Mike’s resignation.
    I believe in supporting ILT’s current business model so it can continue to support the wide range of community organisations which contribute to the well-being of our community. I love working with people, teams and businesses to help them reach their full potential and believe I can play a similar role with ILT.

    3. Both alcohol and gambling are sensitive and highly regulated industries which I believe ILT and ILT Foundation, with their unwavering community focus, are well positioned to provide.
    I was proud to be selected by ILT to replace Ray Harper on the ILT Foundation board seven years ago and have learned the ILT Foundation is recognised and respected nationally for its harm prevention initiatives and the unrivalled percentage of profits it returns to the community.


    John Pringle
    1. I am a lawyer with considerable governance experience having been involved in
    numerous companies and community organisations. I am not a fence sitter and describe
    myself as a decision maker.
    I have the skills to add value to the organisation and to drive the trust into the modern era. I am motivated to be part of an organisation that brings about change to assist in Invercargill becoming a modern and vibrant city.

    2. Other similar cities such as Nelson and New Plymouth have a variety of venues including gin/cocktail bars, craft beer and brew bars. These venues often have live entertainment and are smaller venues where people of all walks of life and ages feel relaxed and can enjoy themselves. I will be strongly advocating for change in this direction including the possibility of joint venture arrangements with other parties who can offer a greater degree of knowledge and flair.

    3. Personally, I am not in favour of gaming machines to raise funds. This, however, is a matter for The Department of Internal Affairs to regulate. I support the use of some of the funds for the treatment and prevention of problem gambling. I also wish to ensure there is real access to the funding by all walks of society including underprivileged young persons and children.
    There needs to be accountability for the use of the funds to ensure that there is a positive return to the Invercargill community.


    Lindsay Thomas
    My motivation comes from my passion for this great city. I have been fortunate to
    represent the city as a past councillor and with the growth that the city and ILT are
    experiencing, it is something I wish to have input into. Strong governance is vital to a good
    organisation and the ability to analyse and dissect board papers are a skill I would bring to
    the board table.

    2. Making our suburban taverns good community places that people of all ages can go to is a priority, we have lost a sense of local community and the taverns offer great space for people to congregate, relax and feel safe.
    Improving the tavern experience for families and the elderly. A strategic plan available to the public for ILT plans over the next five years is also a priority.

    3. Poker machines play their part in the tavern role, people play them for pleasure and unfortunately there is a proportion of people that overindulge.
    At my local tavern they have very strong protocols around gambling harm, with the majority of people playing for pleasure.
    The profit of these machines greatly assists the city organisations both large and small.
    I am in favour of ensuring the machines are retained in ILT establishments.