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Greens disappointed at no moratorium on pokies

28 July 2001

Greens disappointed at no moratorium on pokie machines

Green Gambling Spokesperson Sue Bradford today said while she welcomed the Government's announcement of an extension to a moratorium on casinos, she was disappointed there was no immediate moratorium on non-casino gaming machines.

Ms Bradford said while today's announcement of the casino moratorium extension and plans to place a more public health focus on problem gambling were positive steps, she believed the Government should have also placed a moratorium on the flood of pokie machines entering New Zealand.

"The Greens do not agree with the Government that such a moratorium must wait until next year. We have far too many of these machines in Aotearoa already - at huge cost to families and communities - and more and more are coming. Any move to stop this flow would have strong Green support," she said.

Ms Bradford said while giving the Ministry of Health the responsibility for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling was a step in the right direction, she had concerns that much of the good work that the voluntary and community sectors were doing in this area may be overly bureaucratised.

"It is important for Government to remember that much of the strength in dealing with problem gambling comes from the community and voluntary sectors and these sectors need to be supported and encouraged," said Ms Bradford.

Ms Bradford said she was pleased that lotteries were staying in Government ownership.

"The Greens would also like to see thorough electronic monitoring of gaming machines as this conference has heard that millions of dollars that pass through these machines are unaccounted for."

Ms Bradford said she was pleased that at long last a Government was taking notice of the impacts of gambling on society and taking action.

"Obviously problem gambling in this country is a massive problem that has been neglected for decades and I do wish to acknowledge and applaud this Government for the steps it has taken today."

ENDS

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