Flavell defends gambling bill

NZ Herald 10 July 2013
Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell defended his Gambling Harm Reduction Bill in Parliament tonight, after most of its measures to minimise the harm caused by pokie machines were removed or weakened. The bill passed its second reading, 63 to 57 in a conscience vote.

Mr Flavell originally wanted 80 per cent of the proceeds from pokie machines to go back to the community they come from. National’s changes mean instead of requiring 80 per cent of pokie profits to go back into the community, the Government will be able to set an unspecified minimum percentage by way of regulation. National also baulked at a provision allowing local councils to reduce or ban pokies in areas where disadvantage and problem gambling were major issues. Instead, National will allow operators to move their machines to another venue.

Salvation Army social policy research and parliamentary affairs unit director Major Campbell Roberts said the proposed changes did nothing for problem gamblers, those at risk or communities wishing to manage the impact of gambling. “It fails to address the fundamental flaws in the current system which have resulted in a long history of rorts, money flowing out of poor communities, and excessive cost claims.”