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Maori Party Welcomes Decision To Poke Out Pokies

Maori Party Welcomes Christchurch Decision To Poke Out Pokies

The Maori Party has welcomed today's decision by Christchurch City Council not to grant Addington Raceway a pokie licence.

"This is a bold and brave move by the council and I take my hat off to every single one of them who voted against the application," Maori Party MP for Te Tai Tonga Rahui Katene said.

"I’m very aware of the lobbying and PR spin that was part of a campaign to get a pokie site at the raceway and I’m truly pleased to know that the majority of councillors were wise enough not to be sucked in.”

There are about 5000 problem gamblers in Christchurch and raising the number of pokie sites would only cause more harm to families, Mrs Katene said.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who is sponsoring the Gambling Harm Reduction Bill, said the council's decision follows a growing trend by local government authorities throughout the country to reduce pokie licences in their communities – a move which was to be applauded.

"Last week there was a small township up north called Horoke that gave pokies the boot from their local pub and this week Christchurch has sent out the same message.

"People are speaking out against these machines and I hope our civic leaders will be bold enough, like those in Christchurch have been, to heed the call of our communities who are outright sick and tired of the misery being caused by gambling."

More than 70 percent of people with gambling problems are a result of addictions to pokie machines.

ENDS

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