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Feedback sought on Kāpiti smokefree and gambling policies

30 Aug 2023, 10:42 AM

Kāpiti Coast District Council is seeking feedback on refreshed smokefree and gambling policies. 

Consultation on the draft Class 4 Gambling & TAB Venue Gambling Policy 2023 and Smokefree Public Places Policy 2023 is now open. 

Kāpiti Coast District Mayor Janet Holborow says council’s gambling policies need to be reviewed every three years and this year we’re proposing we take a new approach. 

“We’re proposing a shift to a ‘sinking lid’ approach for pokie venues and machines in Kāpiti, which would mean that if a venue loses its gaming license or closes, no new licenses are granted,” Mayor Janet Holborow says. 

Over time this can permanently lower the number of pokie venues and machines in the district. 

There are currently 184 pokie machines on the Kāpiti Coast - 61 in Ōtaki, 18 in Waikanae, 78 in Paraparaumu and 27 in Paekākāriki-Raumati. There are currently no stand-alone TAB venues in the district and the draft policy, which combines Council’s two current gambling policies, proposes no new stand-alone TAB venues would be established. 

“Problem gambling can wreak havoc not just on those gambling but also their families, whanau, and the wider community. Pokies is the main form of gambling people seek help for in New Zealand. 

“There are limits to what Council can do to reduce gambling harm in our community, but figures show there has been no reduction in gambling spend on pokie machines under the current policy despite a reduction in pokie machines since the last review, so we’re trying something different. 

“Some research shows that reducing the number of pokie machines available can reduce spending on them. It won’t happen straight away, and it won’t solve problem gambling by itself, but we think this is a good step to take.” 

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We’re also asking for feedback on the proposed Smokefree Public Places Policy which would replace the current Smokefree Parks and Playgrounds Policy. 

This policy hasn’t been reviewed since it was introduced in 2008.  There have been a lot of changes since then, including the Government setting a goal of a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 and the increased uptake of vaping in our community.  

Councillor Martin Halliday, chair of Council’s Social Sustainability Subcommittee, says we need to update our policy so it can respond to these changes. 

“Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in New Zealand and brings extraordinary costs to our health system and economy,” Cr Halliday says. 

“Last year the government launched an action plan to achieve a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025, and with vaping now also increasingly pervasive it’s a good time to consider what more we could do to support reaching the smokefree goal.” 

Councils around New Zealand have moved to include vaping alongside smoking in policies and expand smokefree zones to include areas beyond parks. 

Council would also like to see more smoke and vape-free zones around Kāpiti to “de-normalise” smoking in public and is proposing to include the following areas in the new policy:  

  • All council owned parks, reserves, and sportsgrounds
  • All council owned playgrounds, including skateparks
  • Within 10 metres of outdoor public areas around council buildings and facilities
  • Train stations, bus stops and shelters
  • Beaches, rivers, lakes
  • Outdoor dining on public land
  • Events held on Council land or receiving Council funding.

“Any smokefree policy is about education and encouragement to stop smoking or vaping, so a high level of community buy-in is needed,” Cr Halliday says. 

“We’ll continue to spread the smokefree message and use signage to make it clear what is expected in our public places.” 

Visit haveyoursay.kapiticoast.govt.nz/gambling-and-smokefree-policy-reviews to learn more and have your say.