Just before school holidays come to a long-awaited end for some of us, Te Kakano’s Stephanie Erick (and whānau) spent a couple of days in Wellington to meet with PMGH services. Stephanie is working very closely with Ora Toa’s Ashleigh Sagar who is leading a collective of PMGH services and supporters on creating a “Pokie-Free Porirua”. At the end of January, Ora Toa held their second workshop to work on key messages and community events raising awareness around the harms of gambling in Porirua and the current gaps in the Porirua City Council gambling policy. Under the current policy in Porirua there is no cap on the number of gaming venues. The only restriction is that they must be based either in the City centre or industrial zones.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) data to 30 September 2018 show that in the 12 months to September 2018, Porirua lost over $13 million to Class 4 pokie machines, these are pokie machines that are in pubs and clubs in the community. The city has 165 Class 4 pokie machines across 12 venues, one machine for every 222 adults which averages out at over $79,000 per adult. Porirua City ranks 17 out of 67 Territorial Local Authorities in the country in terms of the highest average spend per adult ($356 a year).
Ora Toa is keen to work with anyone with interest in a pokie-free Porirua and have had a great collaborative result this week with many key PMGH sector support and a community lawyer at the third meeting on this kaupapa. This is a start and our first steps towards a Pokie-Free Porirua.