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Minister Expresses Re-Hearing Concerns

Media Release
26 May 2000

Minister Expresses Re-Hearing Concerns

Following her comments in the House yesterday, Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle tonight said she was uncomfortable with the idea of the same Casino Control Authority members deliberating over a re-hearing of Hamilton's casino licence.

Yesterday in the house, Ms Bunkle called for Casino Control Authority member Michael Cox to resign following a High Court decision to overturn a licence granted by the Authority for a casino in Hamilton. Justice Fisher's ruling was based on Mr Cox's apparent bias. Mr Cox is a former National Party official and MP.

Ms Bunkle said yesterday that such bias and "flawed" decision making was not in the interests of consumers, such as the Hamilton community which had overwhelmingly opposed the casino development.

"In his decision, Justice Fisher said on disqualifying panel decisions because of bias: 'In many cases it will be justified by the concern that where there is a reasonable possibility of a bias on the part of one adjudicator there is equally the possibility that he or she contaminated others during joint discussions.'

"I would read from the decision that there is a real possibility that other members of the Authority were likely to have been influenced by Mr Cox.

"In light of this I would be supportive of any moves that would review casino licences granted by a Casino Control Authority panel that included Mr Cox," Ms Bunkle said.


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