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Region’s councils open gambling consultation

Wairarapa’s three district councils have launched a month-long consultation on proposed updates to their joint gambling policy, which aims to minimise gambling’s harm to the community.

The proposed changes would prevent any increase in gaming machines – ie, pokies – and limit the movement of existing machines, as well as prevent the set-up of any standalone TAB venues.

The changes regarding “Class 4 Gambling Venues” – which are any location at which pokies are operated – would ban them from being relocated in Masterton District under any circumstances and prevent them from relocating to Carterton and South Wairarapa District’s most deprived areas if the proposed location is outside a main town centre.

Councils are required by law to review such policies every three years.

There are currently 10 gambling venues in the Wairarapa. Of these, two are in Carterton district, four are in Masterton district, and four are in South Wairarapa district.

The proposed changes follow a Social Impact Assessment of gambling harms and benefits that considered the effectiveness of the current policy in achieving its purpose.

Those living in the region’s most deprived areas are considered to be at the greatest risk of gambling harm.

Of Wairarapa’s districts, Masterton has the highest overall levels of socio-economic deprivation, and evidence indicates gaming machines are used more extensively in Masterton than the rest of the region.

The consultation will run until 4pm on Friday, March 22.

Consultation material is available on the three councils’ websites [mstn.govt.nz, cdc.govt.nz, and swdc.govt.nz], while submission forms are available from the websites, as well as council offices and libraries.

Submissions can be emailed to [email protected], or posted to Masterton District Council [MDC] at Freepost 112477, PO Box 444, Masterton 5840.

People can also ring MDC for further information on 06 370 6300 during business hours on week days.

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