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Government Deals Bad Hand to New Zealanders

Government Deals Bad Hand to New Zealanders

ACT MP Penny Webster today slated the Government's heavy-handed and arbitrary decisions on the Gaming Review.

"These decisions are based solely on politicking and the belief that 'The Government Knows Best'," Mrs Webster said.

"This is yet more PC anti-freedom interfering, and we are sure to see the adverse effects.

"Giving local governments the power to veto new gaming machine sites is extremely dangerous. Local bodies hijacked by the Greens or Alliance won't allow any gaming machines anywhere, while other councils will let them all through. There will be no consistency in New Zealand. Vocal minorities will take charge, just like we have seen with the Resource Management Act.

"Halving the number of gaming machines for new sites is ludicrous. If you were lucky enough to set your business up in August or September of this year, you've got the opportunity to make twice as much money as your neighbour who sets up shop tomorrow. This move is nothing more than a fob off to the Greens and Alliance who wanted gaming machines completely banned.

"The prospect of 'electronic monitoring' of gaming machines has been introduced with absolutely no explanation of how this will actually happen. The Government has no idea how much the technology will cost. New Zealanders will balk at such 'big brother' tactics.

"Preventing existing casinos from expanding is populist, politically-correct meddling. We are now going to have the bizarre situation where Queenstown has two casinos, but Wellington can't even have one - with resulting lost opportunities in tourism and regional development.

"As for community groups being given the opportunity to make decisions on casino activities, the obvious question is: what is a community group? Is the local branch of the Alliance Party a 'community group'? Do the members of a bridge club or an extended family constitute one?

"Most shocking is the announcement that casinos, gaming machine operators, the TAB and even the Lotteries Commission all have to pay a brand-new tax to the Ministry of Health. Because this will be determined annually, we can guarantee the 'levy' will increase every time the Government finds its coffers empty.

"This Government loves coming up with anti-freedom legislation - what killjoy laws will they think of next?" Mrs Webster asked.

ENDS

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