Waiariki MP takes a poke at pokies

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Dr Laurie Morrison, Public Health Contractor with Te Kahui Hauora Trust, has said she is warmed by the support Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell has taken to address the devastating effect of pokie machine gambling for some Maori whanau and their communities.

This Bill is extremely timely given that some of our whanau may see gambling on the pokies as a way of beating the impending recession she comments.

This finding is also synonymous with Michelle Ngahu and Rahera Rewiti – budget advisors from Te Runanganui O Te Arawa Inc. Both comment, there has been a noted increase in the number of clients who are accessing our budget services for gambling related harm this is not good enough, our people are using the pokie machines to make ends meet. Maori communities and government agencies have been provided with in-service presentations about such erroneous beliefs. The societal implications of gambling have helped rangatahi and community organisations to focus on a local lens on where the pokie machines are situated and the ease of access to such venues in Rotorua.

What has become evident to rangatahi is the pokie venues are not in the more affluent areas. There is currently a huge push for the Trust to ensure that the needs of Maori problem gamblers are met from a whanau ora approach. This approach means ensuring that the needs of whanau and those affected are addressed from a holistic and kaupapa Maori approach she says.

Support from Te Ururoa is timely given that one of the outcomes from the Indigenous Symposium on Problem Gambling held here in Rotorua February 2010 was to restore balance and mana, particularly for those whanau members who have been affected. The Minister and not forgetting the Honourable Tariana Turia have always been strong advocates for Maori and problem gambling.

With the Ministers support we can now prepare for a more balanced outlook on how and where pokie machines are located in Rotorua.

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