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Warehouse must withdraw toy pokie machines

Warehouse must withdraw toy pokie machines

Green Gambling Spokesperson Sue Bradford today called on The Warehouse to immediately withdraw the sale of plastic toy pokie machines designed for children as young as three.

The battery operated machines make realistic electronic sounds, come with a supply of fake plastic coins and pay prizes in the same fashion as the real thing.

"What the Warehouse might not have known is that for adults these machines are highly addictive and cause much grief for both individuals and New Zealand families," said Ms Bradford.

"Over the last year more than 5000 new problem gamblers have been officially recognised - through fronting up for treatment - and there are almost certainly thousands and thousands more. Of these 5000 more than 80 per cent of them cited pokie machines as the primary source of their gambling problems.

"These machines have been found in the Manakau Warehouse which is absolutely the worst place for them given the huge amounts of money that pokie machines rip out of the poorest people in New Zealand.

"Pitching these toys to children as young as three is the height of irresponsibility and I urge the Warehouse to withdraw them from sale immediately," said Ms Bradford.

"With Christmas nearly here many parents will be looking for fun toys for their children. The very last thing our children need is to be introduced and socialised to these harmful machines at such a young age and in such an insidious way."

Ms Bradford said it was quite likely that the Warehouse had not considered the consequences of the sale of these machines.

"I am confident that when Stephen Tindall considers these toys in the context of the damage and misery that pokie machines inflict on thousands of New Zealand families he will do the right thing and take them off the shelves."

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