TROY BAKER/Report on local democracy
Ōpōtiki is consistently in the top five districts for slot machine product per capita, according to the council.
The Ōpōtiki District Council calls on the central government to act to reduce the damage caused in the district by pokies.
The Department of Home Affairs is consulting on a discussion paper titled Reducing Pokies Harm and the council has made a submission which emphasizes the disproportionate damage pokies are causing to the Ōpōtiki district.
In a letter to Home Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti, the council said Ōpōtiki was consistently in the top five districts for slot machine revenue per capita.
“Per capita losses have been nearly double the national average, year-over-year, since 2015.”
* Ruapehu District Council tackles ‘enormous’ level of gambling harm
* Pokie slot ‘sinking lid’ on the table as Lower Hutt reviews games of chance
* City council sticks to ‘leaky lid’ policy on slot machines
One of the changes the council is seeking is for the ministry to create legislation that would cap proceeds from slot machines based on the average income in the communities where the machines are located.
It is also seeking the government to invest more resources in problem gambling services in the province of New Zealand, where there are fewer health services available.
“Over the past 12 months, the central government has collected nearly $50,000 in gambling levies from slot machine users in this district alone. In return, the Ministry of Health spent an average of less than 20 hours helping people with gambling problems in Ōpōtiki.
The council has a leaky lid policy on slot sites, which means that no new sites can be created in the district.