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Tackling the causes of poverty

9 September 2003

Tackling the causes of poverty

Progressive Party deputy leader, Matt Robson, said today that it is with both a sense of pride but also deep disappointment that he'll support the Gambling Bill in Parliament today – as well as proposing amendments to the coalition government's proposed law.

"The pride is that we are making progress in introducing a more responsible gambling regime for New Zealand, a process the centre-left coalition government commenced on three years ago.

"I'm proud that we didn't just walk away from the negotiations when the going got tough or when we couldn't convince our Labour partner in government of everything that we wanted," he said.

Matt Robson will move an SOP proposing the cut and then cap the number of gaming machines around the country. The Progressive Party has also signalled to Labour that it will vote against clauses legalizing note acceptors on gaming machines.

"The disappointment, of course, is symbolized by the fact that this Bill is now called the Gambling Bill, not the Responsible Gambling Bill and the fact that the only way we've been able to progress this legislation is by turning to a conservative party because United Future filled the vacuum created by the Green Party's decision to walk away from its responsibilities and commitment to the anti-poverty campaign movement," Matt Robson said.

The Progressive Party supports people having fun. But it is also concerned to protect families and especially the children of those people afflicted with problem gambling problems.

"Neither the first Clark-Anderton coalition, nor the current Labour-Progressive government, ever held a majority in Parliament. The reality of MMP dictates that to make any progress at all in making the gambling industry less potentially harmful to our society, the minority Labour Progressive coalition requires the support of at least one Opposition party – so when the Greens walked away that power was gifted to United," Matt Robson said.

Matt Robson noted that the Progressives didn't convince its government colleagues on matters relating to Internet gambling.

"The Greens ought to have stayed with us to fight the good fight. I remind the Greens again, unless Labour, the Progressives and the Greens get 61 seats in 2005 and work together then we we'll collectively be responsible for handing power to the ACT Party, to National and to the two conservative parties called United Future and NZ First that are parties that campaign to centre left voters and then convert that reservoir into right wing Members in Parliament."


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