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Gambling Harm Reduction Bill 'hijacked'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Gambling Harm Reduction Bill has been hijacked by the Government and is another case of lip service to reducing, or even caring about, problem gambling in our communities, Green Party gambling spokesperson Denise Roche said today.

The Gambling Harm Reduction Bill in Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell's name passed this evening.

"The bill was gutted of any useful harm reduction minimisation measures," Ms Roche said.

"Instead of this being a solid law to reduce gambling harm communities will now have to rely on the Government consulting with the industry.

"The Government has already signalled with the SkyCity casino convention centre deal that they're not interested in the social harm caused by problem gambling.

"It's disappointing that the Government is just as dismissive about the harm caused by pokies that are clustered in pubs and clubs in our poorest communities.

Ms Roche said that the Maori Party and the Government were swayed by the huge opposition to the bill that stemmed from a campaign run by the very same pokie trusts charged with distributing funds from pokie machines to community organisations.

"The pokie industry scared community organisations into opposing the original measures because they were under the impression that there would be less funding for them.

"The select committee was swamped with over 30,000 submissions.

"Putting harm reduction measures into regulations in the bill means we will have to consult with them again.

"There is over $800 million per year washing around from these machines and we've already seen that it is unlikely the industry is motivated for them to earn less."

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