Submissions . . . the Ma taura Licensing Trust wants to increase the number of electronic gaming machines from 15 to 18 in its venue Traffers. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

The Gore District Council has been challenged to match its actions to its words.

Gore has 84 electronic gaming machines in seven Gore venues, and the council is required to review its gambling policy every three years.

Submissions were sought in 2019, but the hearing is only taking place now after a long delay.

An objective in the council’s proposed gambling policy is to reduce the number of electronic gaming machines in the community.

Hokonui Runanga employee Joann Brand made the recommendation in a submission which was considered yesterday afternoon at the council’s gambling policy review hearing.

“An actionable strategy with measurable targets to reduce machine numbers would be ideal, or the omission of this objective going forwards due to the lack of actual demonstrated results.”

The runanga’s submission is one of five councillors Bronwyn Reid, Glenys Dickson and Bret Highsted will hear.

Submissions from the Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust and the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand were also received, along with submissions from the Mataura Licensing Trust and the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand.

A common issue in the submissions was the council’s “sinking lid” policy.

Whether gambling machines should be able to be moved to new locations without requiring a new licensing application was an issue.

The licensing trust submission by general manager Mark Paterson also recommended changing the council’s objective of reducing the number of electronic gaming machines.

Instead, the objective should be to monitor the number of machines, taking into account harm minimisation and “philanthropic purposes”.

The trust recommends the council review its sinking lid policy.

“GDC’s current level of income, funding [and] sponsorship could be affected by closure of an MLT establishment.”

The licensing trust also sought to increase the number of machines at its venue, Traffers, from 15 to 18, the number the site was licensed for.