Sidebar: Have your say:
The district council adopted its draft gambling policy on March 27 and will undertake a special consultative process from April 8 to May 10. Hearings, if required, will be held on May 29.
Despite more money going through gambling machines in Tararua, there is no evidence of a growing problem at the extreme end of gambling, Tararua District councillors have been told.
Gambling proceeds from class 4 machines in Tararua had been declining from 2007, but has taken a jump back up in the past three years, Malcolm Thomas, Tararua District Council's strategy and policy adviser said.
"There is no obvious reason for the increase in proceeds, but it may reflect improved economic conditions and/or higher welfare payments," he said.
"While the proceeds will flow on to benefit many community groups in the district [through Pub Charities], it is probably having a significant detrimental impact on a number of lower income households and often those who participate are those who can least afford it."
Councillor Shirley Hull said it was not very reassuring to see the amount of money going through machines in the Tararua.
"A $200,000 increase in spending from 2015 . . . I'm not sure our policy [to meet a sinking lid target of 100 machines] is working."
Tararua has a high number of gambling machines, with 122, but councillor Peter Johns said he believed this was because in comparison to numbers in Central Hawke's Bay (45) and Rangitikei (58), Tararua has four to five bigger towns.
Thomas said it was a sad fact many machines were located around lower socio-economic areas.
The three-yearly review of council's gambling policy undertaken by Thomas has shown the proportion of gaming machines in the Tararua District decreased from 2013 to 2015.
Overall New Zealand numbers show a significant reduction from 22,231 in 2004 to 15,342 as at September 2018, reflecting the extensive efforts by many communities to reduce the number of gaming machines. However, the number of gaming machines in Tararua has not fallen by a similar proportion, leading to a higher share of the national total.
But district mayor Tracey Collis was able to report the 18 machines in the Pongaroa Hotel were being removed.