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Maori Party Celebrates Gamble-Free Day

Maori Party Celebrates Gamble-Free Day

Tariana Turia; Co-leader, Maori Party

Spokesperson for Whanau Development

1 September 2006

The Maori Party today welcomed Gamble-free day as a day to signal a new start, an appropriate way in which to welcome the warmth of spring.

“Our people always look to this time with great optimism” said Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party. “We welcome the return of pïpïwharauroa, the blooming of the pöänganga (clematis), the warmth of the season ahead”.

“As we say, ka mahana haere te whenua, ngā tipu, ngā rākau. The earth is acquiring warmth, the vegetation, the trees, the digging and planting season is with us”.

“In much the same way, we endorse September 1 as Gamble Free Day, as a way to signal our commitment to a new start, to eliminate the enormous harm that gambling causes in our communities”.

Dr Wiremu Manaia of the Problem Gambling Research Initiative has reported that for many Maori, their low socio-economic status has made them particularly vulnerable to gambling harm.

“We know the damage that is rife in communities through the impact of pokie machines, ‘one-armed bandits’, lottery venues, batons-up, housie, casinos, and all of the other tentacles of gambling related activity in pubs, clubs, supermarkets and shopping malls” said Mrs Turia.

“Problem gambling devastates whanau; it can lead to crime, financial problems and tensions within relationships” said Mrs Turia.

“Given the over-representation in the gambling industry, we would hope that there will be opportunities for tangata whenua to have a leading role in addressing preventative, educational, research, treatment, rehabilitative health and social services to reduce gambling” said Mrs Turia.

“Our preference is to support community activities, so that gambling machines can be removed or reduced; and temptation removed; as well as supporting individuals and whanau who are affected by gambling related harm”.

“Gambling is a significant health issue; it is an economic well-being issue; it is a whanau issue” said Mrs Turia. “Today is a great day to start that spring cleaning - and clear out gambling related harm from all our homes”.


ENDS

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