Gisborne in action
This week, the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority declined the appeal of the sports bar and decided not to renew the licence for the tavern. It was ruled that the tavern was being used primarily as a gambling venue, and under the Gambling Act 2003 no venue is allowed to exist purely for the operation of gambling. The alcohol on-licence for the venue will end in two months, which means an end to the venue's pokie operations making Kaiti Mall pokie-free. Kia pai mai!
The protesters were calling for the region to become pokie-free, stating that the “poorest communities have had enough” and that the money going back to the community doesn’t make up for the harm that pokies cause.
In 2015, the Gisborne District Council adopted a ‘sinking lid’ policy which means that no new class 4 gambling licences or additional pokie machines can be granted in the region, and if a venue closes a new venue cannot be established. However, it is not a true sinking lid as they do allow venues to relocate under certain circumstances. The gambling policy was last reviewed in 2015 and is reviewed every three years.
Feed Families Not Pokies
More than 2000 people have signed a petition against the new licence for the venue, and 67 per cent of submissions called for the South Waikato District Council to adopt a true sinking lid and restrict relocations and mergers at the Council's recent class 4 gambling policy review. However, the Council voted to stick with the status quo of a sinking lid that allows relocations and mergers.
The Feed Families Not Pokies group are raising funds through a Givealittle page to fund a judicial review.
Tokoroa is home to the majority of pokies in the south Waikato, with 133 of the 178 machines in the region. Over $5 million dollars was fed into these machines last year.
In the Far North
Dr. O’Sullivan called for a ban on pokies because of the effect they are having on residents in Kaitaia, his home town.
He said, “If New Zealand’s keen to address child abuse, you’ve got to address the drivers of child abuse – its child poverty, and these machines are contributing to that”.
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