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Final MDC gambling policy TBC

Masterton District Council [MDC] has agreed to support a renewed policy that will prohibit the permanent relocation of gambling venues in Masterton but will allow the temporary relocation of gambling venues under certain circumstances.

Final approval of the policy is subject to wording being added that would set out the circumstances under which the council would approve temporary relocation.

This wording will be pitched by council staff at the next MDC meeting on June 26 where the policy is set to be adopted.

At last week’s meeting, councillor Brent Goodwin expressed his concerns about agreeing to support the renewed Wairarapa Class 4 Gambling and Standalone TAB Venues policy without clarity around how the temporary relocation amendment would be worded.

“This is quite a key and controversial subject, and I would rather see the wording before I vote on it,” Goodwin said.

But chief executive Kym Fell said the council’s support of temporary relocation in the policy now would ensure staff time was being used most effectively.

“Give us a steer as to whether you want us to go and do all that work [creating specific wording for temporary relocation], otherwise we are going to do the work and it may be voted down.”

Councillor Stella Lennox said she was concerned there was confusion about what was being discussed, and noted that the council did not need to make a final decision about adopting the policy at this time.

“Just so we’re clear, today isn’t about agreeing on what we’re choosing as a council to move forward with, we’ve still got that decision to be made.”

Councillor Tim Nelson said he would not support temporary relocation of gambling venues under any circumstances and believed reducing the number of gambling facilities would benefit Masterton’s most vulnerable people.

He and Goodwin voted against supporting temporary relocation in the policy.

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