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Bunkle Calls For Cox to Resign

Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle called on Casino Control Authority member Michael Cox to resign after a High Court judge in Hamilton overturned the granting of a casino licence.

"Justice Fisher found that Michael Cox was biased and his decision making flawed as a result. He also said that Mr Cox had a 'closed mind which is impervious to contrary evidence and argument'," Ms Bunkle said.

"It concerns me that Mr Cox was also a prominent National Party official as the party's Treasurer. His bias, as described by Justice Fisher, is entirely inappropriate on what is supposed to be an important and impartial, public body.

"I personally believe Mr Cox should resign, as the Authority's credibility is now seriously undermined."

Ms Bunkle said she felt vindicated by the High Court ruling after personally experiencing the "denigration of those who opposed a casino" that Justice Fisher reported in his judgement.

"This judgement now raises questions about other Casino Control Authority decisions in which Mr Cox was involved. I will be making submissions to my colleague, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Mark Burton, seeking a review of the decisions Mr Cox was involved in, and a review of the Authority's membership."

Ms Bunkle said she would support calls to review the casino licences granted for Queenstown. She said the people of Queenstown may have suffered a similar injustice due to bias and "flawed decision" making.

Ms Bunkle was delighted to learn that a Private Member's Bill, the Casino Control (Poll Demand) Amendment Bill, was drawn in the ballot today. Ms Bunkle first introduced the Bill to parliament.

"It is extremely important that Parliament considers issues of gaming and casinos at this time, particularly with the credibility of the Casino Control Authority now in question."

ENDS

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