Council votes to resume gaming machine attrition

The Whakatane District council is to continue its policy of gradually reducing the number of gambling machines in the district.

The council's Policy Committee has just completed its three yearly gambling policy review.

It also heard submissions from a number of interested parties.

Chairperson Judy Turner says the committee had to decide whether to seek a further reduction from the 179 pokie machines in the district.

“The proposal from staff was that we just roll over what was decided three years ago, but of course we did still have to consult on it.

"We heard from three submitters orally, including the Gaming Machine Association, the Problem Gambling Foundation and New Zealand Community Trust."

She says the current total of 179 gaming machines in Whakatane used to be up at 232.

"But we've had a policy that if a business is sold and gaming machines aren't used - we don't replace them."

Judy says that through attrition the number of pokies will gradually come down to about 140.

Sam Gardner