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Hutt seeking “best policy” on poker machines

Press Release – Hutt City Council
Hutt City Council is reviewing the use of pokies machines across Te Awa Kairangi as part of its wider vision to create a city of thriving communities.

A range of options for regulating and administering the number of gaming machines and venues are proposed as part of a review of its Gambling and Board Venue policy.

Hutt City Council’s Policy, Finance and Strategy Committee Chair, Cr Simon Edwards says: “Council’s vision is a city where everyone thrives. We’re reviewing this Gambling and Board Venue policy using that as our guiding principle. With this in mind, we want to engage with residents to help guide us towards the best policy for our communities.”

The council is seeking community feedback on three options:

– reducing gaming machine numbers and venues across Lower Hutt over time by blocking relocations or mergers

– Capping gaming machine numbers in the city to 325, (bringing us into line with the national average per capita) and encouraging venues to move to the central business districts of Petone and Lower Hutt

– Maintaining its current policy.

This week, the council will begin a wide-ranging consultation process involving Lower Hutt residents, community groups and venue operators, alongside charities and other organisations that rely on gaming revenues.

Cr Edwards adds: “We know that gambling places pressures on vulnerable families and communities. At the same time, we’re aware of the high level of community and sector interest in this issue, particularly among those organisations that benefit from funding via gaming machines. We want feedback from as many interested parties as possible to ensure we make the right decisions for everyone.

“Overall, we want to adopt a more proactive approach to reducing gambling and gambling harm, for individuals, their whanau and communities. In addition, Council will explore options for providing support to services that help those with a gambling problem.”

You can make a submission on the Hutt City Council consultation page.

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