1,000 signatures reached
To: Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister, Child Poverty Reduction Minister
Ban pokies - protect whānau
Dear Prime Minister, please ban pokies. They are harming our whānau and directly contributing to poverty across our country.
You've said that reducing child poverty is the reason you got into politics, and have taken on specific responsibility for this as the Minister for Child Poverty reduction.
Your government has committed to setting bold goals for reducing poverty, and has identified a range of policies that would help to do this.
One simple step you could take which would immediately reduce whānau poverty would be to ban pokie machines in New Zealand.
Please take a stand to protect families from predatory gambling businesses, and ban pokies.
Why is this important?
Last year pokie machines took in $890 million from New Zealand communities. This doesn't include the $586 million lost at casinos.
The pokie business model is predatory by its nature, relying on the highly addictive design of the machines, and targets people on low incomes. In wealthy areas of our country there is one pokie machine for every 465 people, whereas in poorer areas there is one for every 75 people.
This means that much of that $890 million came directly from the pockets of families in hardship.
Most recently, the South Waikato District Council approved a site permit for a new mega gambling centre in Tokoroa, a town where many families already face the stresses of unemployment, insecure work and low wages. Former New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O'Sullivan has described this plan as "disgraceful" and "predatory".
Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said that reducing child poverty is the reason she got into politics, and has taken on specific responsibility for this as the Minister for Child Poverty reduction.
Her government has committed to setting bold goals for reducing poverty, and identified a range of policies that would help to do this.
One simple step the Prime Minister could take, which would immediately reduce whānau poverty, would be to ban pokie machines in New Zealand.
These machines are highly addictive, and do enormous harm to some of the families doing it toughest in our country. This harm is supposedly justified because a portion of the gambling profits is distributed to community and sports groups.
This means the families who are worst off in our communities are not only being exploited by predatory gambling businesses, but also that the people least able to do so are subsidising community services that should be funded by everyone fairly, through taxes. This makes no sense at all.
Please add your voice to the call on our Prime Minister to protect families from predatory gambling businesses by banning all pokies now.
Pokie statistics from Problem Gambling Foundation NZ: https://www.pgf.nz/pokie-statistics.html
Ban pokies to reduce child poverty, Newshub: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/11/ban-pokies-to-reduce-child-poverty-lance-o-sullivan-to-pm.html
Mega-gambling centre in Tokoroa: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/99550519/tokoroa-mega-gaming-venue-looks-at-tab