Rejection of Pokies a victory for Glenorchy
February 28, 2008
Rejection of Pokies a victory for Glenorchy community
The decision to keep Glenorchy free of pokie machines is a victory for local democracy says the Problem Gambling Foundation.
Independent Commissioners have denied an application by the Southern Trust to put nine machines in a Glenorchy venue.
Problem Gambling Foundation CEO John Stansfield says a pattern of resistance to pokie machines is growing around the country.
"Whenever local communities are given the opportunity to have their say on pokies they reject them," he says.
"We have seen the people in our largest cities like Auckland, Manukau and Christchurch making their feelings about pokies clear, and we are seeing small communities like Glenorchy doing the same.
"Local government politicians are generally responding well by restricting the numbers of venues and machines to the fullest extent the law allows.
"Unfortunately the present law does not give them the ability to put the sort of tight controls communities really want and a number of councils are seeking greater regulating powers."
Mr Stansfield says that the Thames-Coromandel District Council is reviewing its policy at present and local organisations and community boards were showing real concern at the impact the machines were having on families.
"Thames-Coromandel has the second highest per capita spend on pokies in the country. The pokie trusts have the community in a vice-like grip and will not let go easily.
"A number of community groups have received letters from one of the trusts saying funding was at risk if machine numbers are restricted.
"Official statistics show the reverse is likely to be true.
"It's going to be a real test of the Councils commitment to listening to residents
and acting to protect them from further harm," he says.