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Government Robs Millions from Rural Heartland

Government Robs Millions from Rural Heartland

Friday 1st Jun 2001 Penny Webster Media Release -- Economy

Millions of dollars donated to small communities will disappear if the Government rams through anti-smoking legislation, ACT MP Penny Webster said today.

"Pub charities donate tens of millions of dollars to small community organisations every year. One organisation alone - Pub Charity Inc. - donated twenty-one million dollars to good causes last year. By far, the vast bulk went to rural New Zealand. This one organisation pumped $2.5 million into schools. They gave $2 million to worthy youth projects, and donated $8 million to sports organisations.

"Two other groups - NZ Community Trust and Lion Foundation - distributed another $45 million to amateur sports and community organisations in the past financial year.

"The Government intends to rob small towns of this money. Provincial New Zealanders will bypass their 'local' in droves, and go to sports venues, Cosmopolitan Clubs, Workingmen's Clubs and the RSA, where they can enjoy a cigarette with their beer. Private clubs do not return their gaming profits to the local community as directly as publicans do.

"Hundreds of organisations rely on pub charities for survival. The Government surely doesn't expect the taxpayer to pick up the bill.

"Heartland towns such as Te Kuiti and Greymouth will be hit hard.

"Sports teams, schools and hospices in small communities shouldn't be punished in this way," Penny Webster said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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