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A Pokie Free Auckland: Alliance Party

A Pokie Free Auckland: Alliance Party

"Auckland City should aim to be pokie free by 2010" says Alliance Leader Matt McCarten. Speaking before Council tomorrow (Monday 5 April at 9.30am) on the Council's Draft Gambling Venue Policy, Mr McCarten is calling for the Council to begin decreasing the number of pokie venues in the city by refusing all new pokie venue licenses.

Pokie machines are strategically sited in the most deprived areas of this city and played by people who can least afford to lose money through gambling. It is in these areas that pokie addiction is growing. Increasing the number of pokie venues will only exacerbate the problem. The Alliance is calling for Auckland City Council to endorse a "No More Pokies" policy by agreeing to issue no further new Class 4 licences (which allows gaming machines outside a casino to raise money for community purposes).

"Pokie machines are knowingly sited in the poorer areas of the city where they will get the biggest return. The profits flow back into the more affluent suburbs where the pokie trusts, societies and sports clubs (but not the machines) are domiciled." Mr McCarten says.

"85% of all new problem gamblers seeking treatment in New Zealand are addicted to pokie machines. For women the figure is even worse at 93%. The experts tell us that pokie addiction is growing at over 30% a year. From 3 July to 3 December last year, in Auckland PGFNZ saw 647 new clients in Auckland 549 of these (85%) had pokie addictions."

"In 2002, $770 million was lost in New Zealand non-casino pokies and in 2003 it went up to $941 million."

The Alliance is also calling for greater Council scrutiny of the funding decisions made by the 28 trusts, foundations and societies and the 50 clubs that distribute pokie proceeds to ensure that each grant is actually for the greater good of the community.

"At present there are some very dubious funding awards being made. We are asking the Council to demand more accountability of the trusts, foundations and clubs that distribute pokie profits to ensure that the community does reap some benefit."


A Submission on behalf of the Alliance Party on Auckland City Council’s Draft Gambling Venue Policy
16 March 2004


This submission is from the Alliance Party, an Incorporated Society having its registered office at P O Box 2948, Wellington
Free Phone: 0508 Alliance (0508 255 426).

The Alliance Party wishes to appear before the Auckland City Council to speak to its submission. It will be represented by Alliance Leader Mr Matt McCarten whose contact details are matt.mccarten@alliance.org.nz 09 361 9992 (w) 09 849 6662 (h) 021 684 422 (cell).

In this submission the Alliance Party seeks a commitment from Auckland City Council to endorse the idea of Auckland City becoming a pokie-free city by 2010 and that it begins by limiting the number of pokie venues to those holding a licence on 18 September 2003 and committing to issuing no new pokie venue licenses. The grounds are that pokie machines are strategically sited in the most deprived areas of this city and played by people who can least afford to lose money through gambling. It is in these areas that pokie addiction is growing. Increasing the number of pokie venues only exacerbates the problem.

The Alliance submission is asking Auckland City Council to endorse a “No More Pokies” policy and agrees to issue no further new class 4 venue licences.

In the first part of this submission we will make the case for a “No More Pokies” policy for Auckland City Council. In second part, we present those amendments required of the Council’s current draft policy to align with a “No More Pokies” stance.

Part One: The Case for “No More Pokies”

A recent report (October 2003) ‘Problem Gambling Geography of New Zealand’ from the Public Health Intelligence Applications Laboratory, School of Earth Science, Victoria University of Wellington, examined several important issues in relation to non-casino gaming machines (pokies) in New Zealand. In particular, they examined the distribution of pokie machines across New Zealand with respect to:

Deprivation Other known gambling risk factors (for example: ethnicity, income level, unemployment, educational level)

It is worthwhile summarising their results, especially in relation to Auckland City.


In April 2003, there were 20,138 pokie machines across New Zealand. The authors found that pokies were much more likely to be found in the more deprived areas of the country. 47% of all non-casino venues and around 53% of all pokie machines are in census area units (CAUs) in deciles 8, 9 and 10, the most deprived 30% of CAUs in New Zealand. The graphed results clearly show that as the level of deprivation increases so too does the numbers of pokie machines. Indeed, the authors note that the pokie density ranges from 21.5 machines per 1,000 people (or one machine for every 465 people) in decile 1 (least deprived) to 133.7 per 1,000 people (one machine for every 75 people) in decile 9.

In April 2003, there were 174 sites in Auckland with 2,070 pokie machines. This represents an increase of 211 machines from April 2002, a percentage increase of +11.4%.

In the area covered by Auckland City Council , there were 56.3 pokies per 10,000 population. 53.6% of all pokies in Auckland were sited in deprived areas.

Appendix 1-5 shows maps of Auckland shows the concentration of pokie machines in areas of greatest deprivation.

Figures from the Gambling Watch Quarterly Survey of the Department of Internal Affairs (30 June, 2003) puts Auckland City at number 10 in the New Zealand TLA league tables for concentration of pokie machines (these figures includes casino pokie machines). As shown in Table One, Auckland City rates much worse than its neighbouring cities and districts:

Table One : Auckland Region Pokie Statistics (DIA 30 June 2003)
City/District Total no. pokies Residents per pokie No. of pokie sites Rank in survey of TLAs
Auckland City 3,837 1 to 102 193 10
Rodney District 413 1 to 196 40 56
Franklin District 249 1 to 218 29 64
Manukau District 1,296 1 to 237 90 68
Papakura District 175 1 to 244 12 70
North Shore City 543 1 to 366 40 72
Waitakere City 468 1 to 386 34 74
New Zealand 28,031 1 to 143 2,128


The authors could not distinguish between the effects of deprivation and ethnicity as problem gambling risk factors, but it is not rocket science to note that the most deprived areas of New Zealand tend to be the areas with high proportions of Maori and Pacific peoples.

Pokie addiction According to the latest figures for 2003 from the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGFNZ), 85% of all new problem gamblers seeking treatment in New Zealand are addicted to pokie machines. For women the figure is even worse at 93% (n=632).

PGFNZ estimates that over 50 cents of ever dollar going into a pokie machine comes from the pocket of a problem gambler.

Pokie addiction according to PGFNZ is growing at over 30% a year.

In the six months from 3 July 2003 to 3 December 2003, PGFNZ in Auckland saw 647 new clients and 549 of those were pokie addicts (85%).

Pokie profits

According to the most recent figures from the PGFNZ, in 2002, $770 million was lost in New Zealand non-casino pokie machines. In 2003, it went up to $941 million. Adding in casino pokies, the total losses for 2003 are over $1.25 billion.

Pokie grants to the community

Currently, there are 28 separate trusts, foundations and societies and a further 50 clubs with pokie sites in Auckland City (see Appendix One for complete list).

PGFNZ estimates that for every one dollar that comes into a community organisation from a pokie-funded trust, foundation, society or club, three dollars is lost from the community.

PGFNZ has been critical of the way in which pokie funding has been allocated to community groups. In one review of the type of funding made by pokie funded trusts, foundations, societies or clubs, a number of “bizarre local funding decisions” were identified by the PGFNZ including:

Daily Waste Social Club $10,570.00 Thoroughbred Social Club (Papakura) $4,500.00 Customer Account Service Social Club (Lower Hutt) $4,500.00 The Friday Club (Christchurch) $5,000.00 Company Dart Club (Palmerston North) $4,777.00 Bar Flys (Palmerston North) $1,695.00 Booze Barons (Hamilton) $6,479.00

PGFNZ also identified a number of grants which indicated to them tat that “the gambling industry naturally looks after its own interests”.

Wellington City Council Rates $4,333.00 Commerce Commission Social Club $2,144.00 Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries Cricket Club $1,078.00 Taxes Cricket Club Wellington Inc. $3,372.00


The Alliance Party believes that licensing pokie machines outside of casinos is detrimental to people living in those already deprived communities. The pokie trusts, foundations, societies and sports clubs knowingly site the pokies in poorer areas of the city, while the proceeds flow back into the more affluent suburbs where the pokie trusts, societies and sports clubs (but not the machines) are domiciled.

Pokie machines in the community breed addictions especially among women and especially among young people.

The benefits to the individual members of the community of the proceeds from pokies have yet to be identified and at least one report suggests that funding decisions need more careful scrutiny to ensure that each grant is actually for the greater good of the community.

For these reasons we seek a commitment from the Auckland city Council to the idea of Auckland City becoming a pokie-free city by 2010 and that it issues no further applications for new pokie venue licenses.

We also seek a commitment from Auckland City Council that it will carefully scrutinise the pokie-funded grants given out by all trusts, foundations societies and clubs by requiring them to report to Council in the same time-frame as their grants i.e. three-monthly, six-monthy or annually. Grant applications that were declined should also be notified to the council.

Part Two: Amendments required by the Alliance of the Council’s Draft Gambling Venue Policy

p4 1.1 To control the growth of gambling in Auckland city and make Auckland a pokie-free city by 2010 by issuing no further class 4 venue licenses. (add words in bold)

p4 1.3 To allow those who are legally entitled to participate in class 4 and in TAB gambling in Auckland city to do so if they wish and to do so safely. (delete words in italics)

p5 3.0 The Council will not consent to any new class 4 venue being established in Auckland City. (add words in bold)

p5 Delete clauses 3.1 to 3.6

p6 Delete clause 4.2

p6 New section 6.0 To ensure that funds raised by gambling are distributed fairly for the benefit of communities within Auckland City, the Council will require all trusts, foundations, societies and clubs which distribute profits from pokies, to report to Council regarding those grants awarded and the criteria used. They should also report on those funding applications which were declined. Reports should be in the same time-frame as their grants i.e. three-monthly, six-monthy or annually) (add words in bold)


Trusts/Foundations/Societies with pokie sites in Auckland City

Active’s Charitable Trust Air Rescue Foundation Barrycourt Charitable Trust Cancer Society (Auckland Division) Century Foundation Community Grants Foundation Counties Manukau Sports Foundation Endeavour Charitable Trust Kiwi Community Trust Lion Foundation Mt Wellington Charitable Trust NZ Community Trust Order of Saint John Auckland Regional Trust Board Pacific Sports & Community Trust Pelorus Trust Perry Foundation Pub Charity Royal Oak Trust Scottwood Group Seagull Trust Sentinel Community Trust South Auckland Charitable Trust Southern Trust Tainui Community Trust Tasman Trust TC Charitable Trust Trillian Trust Water Safety Education Foundation

Clubs with pokie sites in Auckland City

Akarana Golf Club Auckland Trotting Club Avondale Bowling Club Avondale RSA Balmoral Bowling Club Blockhouse Bay Bowling Club Churchill Club Glendowie College Rifes Rugby Union & Sports Club Commerce Club of Auckland Eden Roskill RSA Edendale Club Ellerslie Bowling Club Grey Lynn RSA Hillsboro Bowling Club Manukau Cruising Club Maritime Club Maungakiekie Golf Club Mt Albert Bowling Club Mt Albert Ramblers Softball Club Mt Eden Bowling Club Mt Wellington Bowling Club Mt Wellington – Panmure RSA New Lynn Bowling Club New Lynn RSA NZ All Golds Association Newmarket Club Newmarket RSA Okahu Bay Bowling Club Onehunga Bowling Club Onehunga and Districts RSA Onehunga RSA Bowling Club Onehunga Workingmen’s Club Orakai RSA Oxford Sports Trust Otahuhu Recreational Sports Society Parnell RSA Point Chevalier Memorial RSA Point Chevalier Bowling Club Ponsonby Bowling Club Rawhiti Bowling Club Rocky Nook Bowls Sandringham Bowling Club Suburbs 40 Grand Council Hall Society and Brothers Club Suburbs Rugby Football Club Tamaki Naval and Ex-Naval Club Te Atatu Bowling Club Titirangi Golf Club Waiheke RSA Waiheke Bowling Club West End Bowling Club

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