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Minister dodges questions over Govt grab of pokies

Minister dodges questions over Govt grab of pokie money

National says it is even more concerned that the Government will push ahead with a move to grab local pokie money that goes to sports clubs, after Ministers dodged questions about the issue at a select committee today.

"It seems the Government will push though its last minute amendment to the Responsible Gambling Bill so that it can get local pokie funds and put them into pet Government projects," says National's Internal Affairs Spokesperson Judith Collins.

"Trevor Mallard and Judith Tizard clearly showed at the Government Administration committee that they have both got their eyes on the local pokie funds.

"When asked if Government agency Sport and Recreation (SPARC) planned to receive a portion of local pokie machine funds, Mr Mallard refused to let either the SPARC chief executive or chairman answer. Instead he said this "had not been budgeted for" and refused to say whether there were plans to use the funds.

"In a warning shot to thousands of sports clubs Judith Tizard said she was very concerned about the amount of money going to adult male sport and that Parliament would have to address this issue.

"Local sports teams, community and arts groups, and schools can expect our fears to come true. The Government will put up a last minute amendment without consultation, in the dead of night during Parliament urgency, and rush through a change which will see them take pokie machine money, " says Ms Collins

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