Hone Harawira, leader of the Mana Party, has announced an initiative to ban poker machines in low income areas. He believes that the high number of pokies in poorer cities across New Zealand causes an increase in gambling addiction among residents. He believes that it is up to the local government to correct the issue and has called for a ban on electronic gaming machines in these areas.
Harawira believes that gambling addiction is most crippling in low-income areas, as those affected believe that they can gamble themselves out of poverty. Unfortunately, these are just false hopes and poverty-stricken individuals just dig themselves deeper into debt.
In order to combat the growing issue of gambling addiction, Harawira has called for all poker machines to be removed from gaming venues in areas where a vast majority of residents live in poverty. He believes that this will help reduce problem gambling rates.
The movement has seen a great deal of encouragement so far, as the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand has announced its support. Although an official proposal has yet to be submitted, Harawira’s initiative could make a big different in low income communities.