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Salvation Army calls on MPs to reject convention centre

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Salvation Army today asked all MPs to examine their consciences before voting in the first reading of the New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill.

In a letter to MPs, The Salvation Army says the proposal to grant significant concessions to SkyCity to develop a convention centre, including radically increasing the number of gaming machines, carries unacceptable social costs.

Salvation Army social policy spokesman Major Campbell Roberts says while the centre would have significant and important benefits, the proposed legislation cancels these out.

He says: "The harm minimisation measures allowed for in this legislation are a joke. They are neither robust nor effective.

"They do not represent any significant improvement on the rather ineffective current practices of Sky City Casino, that are already failing to significantly reduce gambling harm," he says.

He notes that a Ministry of Health survey last year reported that nearly a quarter of people gambling on gaming machines were likely to be problem gamblers or would probably develop a gambling addiction to be in the future.

"There is a sad irony that while politicians profess to care about child poverty, a significant contributor to the problem - problem gambling - is being ignored in the haste to acquire a convention centre for Auckland."

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