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Flavell Disappointed at the Social Costs of SkyCity Deal

MEDIA STATEMENT
Te Ururoa Flavell
MP for Waiariki
Monday 13th May 2013


Flavell Disappointed at the Social Costs of SkyCity Deal

Māori Party Whip Te Ururoa Flavell has indicated his disappointment at revelations of the Government’s deal for a new convention centre where SkyCity will pay for a $400 million centre in exchange for 230 additional pokie machines, 52 more gaming tables and an extension on its casino licence until 2048.

“For years we have spoken out against any initiatives which facilitate gambling as a social hazard and this deal tramples on the progress that many communities have made in protecting themselves from the hazards of problem gambling,” said the MP for Waiariki.

“My Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill is designed to facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling – there is no community consideration in this deal. The Government has given SkyCity more power to profit from gambling addiction.”

“The Māori Party has always been totally opposed to any special arrangements which would enable SkyCity to reap further benefit from problem gamblers,” said Te Ururoa. “There are already too many pokie machines and they are way too accessible – intentionally putting harm in someone’s way is tantamount to a social disaster.”

“While we would be the first to recognise the value of the jobs that should immediately result for the construction workforce and of course the benefit to the economy from the tourist dollar, we cannot turn away from our responsibility to raise the issues of harm minimisation for players at risk of problem gambling.”

“Encouraging players to elect to restrict the time or amount spent at the casino is a great idea if players recognise they have a problem – we are not convinced on that front.”

“Through our People Before Pokies Bill we are trying to do all we can to minimise the known harmful effects of gambling. We are so disappointed the Government would put the wellbeing of the people second to a new convention centre.”

“The Government might think they are getting a good deal but the longterm costs to the people of New Zealand must surely keep any politician awake at night.”

ENDS

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