Gambling harm reduction bill a ‘misnomer’

3 News 20 June 2013
The Salvation Army has taken aim at the Government’s attempt  to minimise gambling harm, saying its watered-down version of a Maori Party bill  might actually make things worse.

The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill  originally had pokie profits going back to the community, tracking devices  attached to machines and councils given the power to shut down venues.

But yesterday Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain presented  a watered-down version, which saw many of its harm reduction clauses removed  or significantly weakened.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira called it a “dead rat”, and  this morning on Firstline Salvation Army social policy spokesperson Campbell  Roberts called it a “tragedy”.

“I think there’s been immense pressure on the Government  from the industry, and I think the tragedy is their voices become stronger than  that of the community, which sees some of the damage that’s being caused,” he  says.

“I think it’s a lack really of creative and courageous  leadership amongst our politicians that’s allowing this to happen.”