Ka Pai Kaiti to lead pokie protest

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A COMMUNITY organisation wants to hold Gisborne District Council to account over inadequate gambling policies. Ka Pai Kaiti has organised a protest on Thursday as part of a local and nationwide push to draw attention to the negative effects of gambling on vulnerable communities.

“Our planning for this event was strategic,” said Ka Pai Kaiti manager Tuta Ngarimu.

“The day scheduled for the protest is a full council meeting day. We want to hold them to account.”

What began as a community initiative to see a pokie-free Kaiti, has now evolved to include the whole country.

“The fight has to be at a national level, but we need to start locally,” Mr Ngarimu said.

The effects of problem gambling are seen every day in communities and Mr Ngarimu believes further restrictions or eliminating poker machine licences is a starting point.

“It’s frustrating trying to prevent and minimise social harm, and deal with poverty in our community, when gambling licences are approved in premises across the road from schools and next to the dairy.”

In 2016, Gisborne gamblers lost a record $10 million on pokies, eclipsing the previous record losses of $9.3m in 2014. By the third quarter of 2017, losses were already $7.6m.

Putting pressure on the council

Mr Ngarimu wants people to continue pressuring the council for change and to question where community funding for sports and other events comes from.

“Millions of dollars leave our community every year as a result of gambling and we want to challenge conflicts of interest at the decision-making level of local government and to see ethical choices made regarding community funding.”

The fight against gambling in Gisborne had been continuing for close to two decades and needed to be maintained, said Te Ara Tika Trust, Tairawhiti Gambling Services manager Lizz Crawford.

“People gamble for a range of reasons. Like any addiction, it doesn’t always begin as a problem but quickly starts to cause difficulty when money is tight.”

Ms Crawford attended the International Gambling Conference in Auckland this month where Dr Lance O’Sullivan spoke on how gambling added stress in low-income households and put children at higher risk of abuse.

Dr Sullivan described how gambling made his job harder, with a direct link between addiction to pokies and sick kids. Deaths attributable to gambling were on the increase.

Gambling related suicide

Suicide as a result of gambling was increasing and this, along with more younger people gambling as a result of online accessibility, was very concerning Ms Crawford said.

“Web and mobile apps are available that further expose and entice people into gambling,” she said.

Online gamblers can spend large amounts of money by using credit/debit cards or vouchers bought at specific fuel stations in New Zealand, while the sites they access are overseas.

While illegal for any New Zealand- based entity to offer online gambling, many sites that have a New Zealand URL (.co.nz) are owned and operated by overseas companies.

“The online gambling environment is unregulated and uncontrolled. Whanau who gamble online and wish to stop might need to change their email address, stop non-essential wifi and data services, cut up their credit cards and seek help from a service provider or whanau they trust,” Ms Crawford said.

Gisborne District Council’s Gambling Venue Policy 2015 is due for renewal in October 2018.

Protest organisers are adamant the community will have the chance to have its voice heard.

“People power will win,” Mr Ngarimu said.

Sinking lid policy

Gisborne District Council has had a “sinking lid” policy for class 4 gambling venues since 2005, although there can be exceptions in special circumstances.

A sinking lid policy means that when an existing class 4 (pokie) venue closes, it will not give consent for another to be established.

It also prevents a venue increasing numbers of gaming machines.

As at December 31 2017, Gisborne had 12 venues approved for gaming, with 180 machines operating.

• Submissions regarding the gambling policy review can be made direct to GDC or through Te Ara Tika manager, Lizz Crawford.




A COMMUNITY organisation wants to hold Gisborne District Council to account over inadequate gambling policies. Ka Pai Kaiti has organised a protest on Thursday as part of a local and nationwide push to draw attention to the negative effects of gambling on vulnerable communities.

“Our planning for this event was strategic,” said Ka Pai Kaiti manager Tuta Ngarimu.

“The day scheduled for the protest is a full council meeting day. We want to hold them to account.”

What began as a community initiative to see a pokie-free Kaiti, has now evolved to include the whole country.

“The fight has to be at a national level, but we need to start locally,” Mr Ngarimu said.

The effects of problem gambling are seen every day in communities and Mr Ngarimu believes further restrictions or eliminating poker machine licences is a starting point.

“It’s frustrating trying to prevent and minimise social harm, and deal with poverty in our community, when gambling licences are approved in premises across the road from schools and next to the dairy.”

In 2016, Gisborne gamblers lost a record $10 million on pokies, eclipsing the previous record losses of $9.3m in 2014. By the third quarter of 2017, losses were already $7.6m.

Putting pressure on the council

Mr Ngarimu wants people to continue pressuring the council for change and to question where community funding for sports and other events comes from.

“Millions of dollars leave our community every year as a result of gambling and we want to challenge conflicts of interest at the decision-making level of local government and to see ethical choices made regarding community funding.”

The fight against gambling in Gisborne had been continuing for close to two decades and needed to be maintained, said Te Ara Tika Trust, Tairawhiti Gambling Services manager Lizz Crawford.

“People gamble for a range of reasons. Like any addiction, it doesn’t always begin as a problem but quickly starts to cause difficulty when money is tight.”

Ms Crawford attended the International Gambling Conference in Auckland this month where Dr Lance O’Sullivan spoke on how gambling added stress in low-income households and put children at higher risk of abuse.

Dr Sullivan described how gambling made his job harder, with a direct link between addiction to pokies and sick kids. Deaths attributable to gambling were on the increase.

Gambling related suicide

Suicide as a result of gambling was increasing and this, along with more younger people gambling as a result of online accessibility, was very concerning Ms Crawford said.

“Web and mobile apps are available that further expose and entice people into gambling,” she said.

Online gamblers can spend large amounts of money by using credit/debit cards or vouchers bought at specific fuel stations in New Zealand, while the sites they access are overseas.

While illegal for any New Zealand- based entity to offer online gambling, many sites that have a New Zealand URL (.co.nz) are owned and operated by overseas companies.

“The online gambling environment is unregulated and uncontrolled. Whanau who gamble online and wish to stop might need to change their email address, stop non-essential wifi and data services, cut up their credit cards and seek help from a service provider or whanau they trust,” Ms Crawford said.

Gisborne District Council’s Gambling Venue Policy 2015 is due for renewal in October 2018.

Protest organisers are adamant the community will have the chance to have its voice heard.

“People power will win,” Mr Ngarimu said.

Sinking lid policy

Gisborne District Council has had a “sinking lid” policy for class 4 gambling venues since 2005, although there can be exceptions in special circumstances.

A sinking lid policy means that when an existing class 4 (pokie) venue closes, it will not give consent for another to be established.

It also prevents a venue increasing numbers of gaming machines.

As at December 31 2017, Gisborne had 12 venues approved for gaming, with 180 machines operating.

• Submissions regarding the gambling policy review can be made direct to GDC or through Te Ara Tika manager, Lizz Crawford.




Te Ara Tika will inform the community through networks, media and social media when submissions are to be made.
If services, agencies, business, non-government organisations, government organisations and local funders would like to make submissions, contact Lizz Crawford, Kaiwhakahaere, lizz@tatgtown.org.nz.
• The protest will begin at 10am on Thursday and will run for about an hour.
Speakers at the protest will include Tairawhiti District Maori Council and Nona Aston.
For further information and updates, visit the Kapai Kaiti Facebook page.

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Lara Meyer - 8 months ago
Regarding the sinking lid policy, my understanding (and I am hoping someone who knows all about this can provide me the facts) is that some local organisations get around this policy by registering a new company and transferring the plant to that. If the sinking lid policy was working, wouldn't we see a reduction in the number of venues and the amount of money being spent on gambling in the region?
Instead revenue is growing and problem gambling is a major concern.
I really hope no one is going to try to justify pokies or other gambling by talking about how much good is done in the region using the proceeds of local gambling. That $10 million would do just as much good in the region without doing harm first.
Gambling is such a problem in our region that I was surprised to learn how little annual funding the agencies who are trying to help people stop receive! The enormous sum of $10 million was collected from gambling in 2017 yet the group trying to help so many people are given only $300K and struggle to meet demands for help. I smell a rat.
I think gambling venues should be closed down, or operate at Wainui Beach or Ballance Street Village. At least most people who live in those suburbs have discretionary money. How about a nice TAB next to Wainui store or a bright and shiny pokies venue next door to Frank and Albies or Pharmacy 53?
If we don't address the harm gambling venues are doing to our people in real terms, I have to ask myself, who is benefiting?

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