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Value Of International Convention Centre Jeopardised By Gambling Harm - Maori Party

Voxy Newswire
Voxy Newswire
Value Of International Convention Centre Jeopardised By Gambling Harm  - Maori Party

The Maori Party has spoken out strongly against the proposal announced today which rewards SkyCity casino with the prospect of special arrangements amending gambling regulations and legislation.

‘We would be the first party to argue in support of new employment and training opportunities – and of course we welcome the construction growth that is promised with the building of a large international convention centre” said Te Ururoa Flavell, sponsor of the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill. "There are clearly some exciting employment, economic and tourism outcomes that will come with the proposed 3500-seat centre which we support"

“But – and this is extremely serious for us – we oppose in the strongest possible form any suggestion that will enable Sky City to benefit from special provisions including a proposed increase in gaming tables and machines at the Auckland casino".

“Every day we see major downstream effects from problem gambling embedded in our communities - family break-ups, workplace problems, increased pressure on health services and the criminal justice system, and for far too many, there are difficulties in even providing the basic essentials of a family life” said Mr Flavell.

“It was because of the Maori Party’s opposition to gambling as a social hazard that I drafted a bill to provide additional measures to prevent and minimise harm, ensure money from gambling benefits the community and facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling” said Mr Flavell.

“We cannot ignore the fact either that local iwi should have been considered as the natural investor for Government. I understand that Ngati Whatua had submitted a very sound proposal as part of their golden mile development plan along the waterfront” said Mr Flavell.

“It is disappointing that their initiative is overlooked – and even more so, when we see the proposed arrangement will privilege the casino operations” said Mr Flavell.

"While we note that SkyCity has agreed to negotiate with iwi of Auckland during the design process and in the centre's future, we cannot overlook the impacts of increasing gambling harm and particularly amongst Maori communities".

"$465 million was lost in New Zealand casinos during 2009 - $465 miillion which would have been much better spent in investing in whanau".

“We believe that the social harms of a casino would far outweigh any economic, employment or tourism benefits suggested.

"We will be watching the progress of the legislation closely and will oppose any special provisions which lead to a growth in problem gambling harm".


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