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Dunedin Council Flooded by Anti-pokie Submissions

Media Release

06 November 2009

Dunedin Council Flooded by Anti-pokie Submissions

Hundreds of Dunedin residents are having their say to make sure no more pokie machines are brought into their city.

More than 708 people and organisations have sent written submissions to the Dunedin City Council advocating a moratorium or "sinking lid" policy for pokies, believed to be one of the highest number received on a single issue. More than 20 submitters have asked to be heard in support of their submissions.

The submissions, in response to the council's gambling policy review, come as figures show the machines are sucking nearly $60,000 a day from Dunedin people.

The submissions have been largely organised by the Problem Gambling Foundation, Salvation Army Oasis Centre, and Te Roopu Tautoko Ki Te Tonga.

Under a sinking-lid policy, there can be no new pokie machines or pokie venues and machines can’t be moved when a venue shuts.

“It is important that Council lets the people decide, not the market. The City Councillors, as the people’s representatives, must be the ones to determine whether there will be more or fewer pokies in Dunedin. The only way to guarantee fewer pokies is through a “sinking lid” moratorium,” Thomas Moore, Problem Gambling Foundation Counsellor said.

“The submissions show a shift in thinking from pokies being a fun and occasional plaything to something that is highly addictive and destructive. People are beginning to realise they're addictive and harmful and they don't want any more of them in their communities,” Jerry Banse, of Te Roopu Tautoko Ki Te Tonga said.

“The latest New Zealand research indicates that pokies result in net loss of economic output, jobs, and household income. By introducing a moratorium on pokie machines, Council can limit some of the harm caused by gambling, and in doing so help to protect the health of some of its most vulnerable people,” Glen McLennan, Manager of Salvation Army Oasis Centre said.

ENDS

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