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Ed Sheeran

Pokies sucking millions from far north

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Kaikohe GP Lance O’Sullivan says if the Government is serious about tackling child poverty it should get rid of pokies and other highly-addictive methods of gambling.

Dr O’Sullivan told this week’s International Gambling Conference at AUT University that problem gambling is having an impact on children’s health, as whanau are battered emotionally and economically by gambling addictions.

He says the notion gambling profits are redistributed for community purposes doesn’t hold up in the far north, where $13 million was taken out in 2014 through pokie machines and just $1.2 million came back in community grants.

"In one three-month period almost $1m came out of Kaikohe. That is a million dollars coming out of what is certainly high needs, low income families and they will have children so we are at the sharp end of this problem and we need to have a government and a leadership that supports healthier communities," Dr O’Sullivan says.

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