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Auckland community leaders say back off SkyCity deal

21 May 2013

Auckland community leaders tell Government to back off SkyCity deal

Auckland community leaders today sent a clear message to the Government that they do not want the dirty deal involving pokie machines for a convention centre to proceed, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.

Community leaders from throughout Auckland voiced their opposition to the Government’s deal with SkyCity casino this morning at a forum looking at the problems associated with casino gambling. The Government’s deal with SkyCity casino means SkyCity will be allowed to have 230 extra pokie machines, with an exclusive licence extended until 2048, in return for SkyCity building a convention centre.

“The Government needs to listen to the wider Auckland community’s concerns regarding their deal with SkyCity casino,” Mrs Turei said today.

“Community leaders throughout Auckland are very concerned at the negative social effects that will result from the Skycity deal.

“The dirty deal between the National Government and SkyCity will come at a great cost to the wider Auckland community.

“So far only the Government and SkyCity’s interests have been considered. The problems of family breakdowns, crime and the impact on migrant, Maori and Pasifika communities have not been considered by the Government.

“Today was about giving the community a chance to have their voices heard. The community leaders that came to today’s forum are the experts on the social impacts of problem gambling and particularly the impacts on Auckland families and businesses.”

“Community organisations pick up the pieces from problem gambling but they have had no opportunity to be involved in this deal,” Mrs Turei said.

“This Government is trying to stop future public health measures that will protect families and businesses from the effects of problem gambling. It is time they met with and talked to community leaders from throughout Auckland rather than just the chief executives of SkyCity casino.”

Note: Today’s forum was also attended by Green MP Denise Roche, Councillor Richard Northey, Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua, chaplain of the Tagata Pasifika Resource Centre, John Stansfield (former member of the Government’s Expert Advisory Committee on Gambling Harm), Campbell Roberts from the Salvation Army, Rev Lynne Frith of the Auckland Central Methodist parish, and Ants Hawke from Maori public health organisation Hapai te Hauoara Tapui.

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