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Internal Affairs ‘Spin’ Unhelpful

Internal Affairs ‘Spin’ Unhelpful

Wellington, 6 May 2003

New Zealand’s largest gaming society says the Department of Internal Affairs’ attempt to ‘spin’ themselves around a recent High Court decision was both unhelpful and confusing to the non-casino gaming machine sector.

Pub Charity recently took the DIA to court over the way it calculated how much societies could reimburse site operators for authorised expenses. The High Court found in favour of Pub Charity and declared the DIA had been acting illegally.

“The Department had created a system allowing it to pay up to $500 per machine per week for expenses based solely on turnover – irrespective of what actual expenses might be or even if the expenses were allowable under the department’s own rules,” said Pub Charity CEO, Ian Bray.

“Not only did this seem to be legally flawed, it also seemed to ‘reward’ sites purely on the basis of their size, popularity and profit – a rather ironic set of criteria given the purpose of the yet to be introduced Gaming Bill,” said Mr Bray.

“However, in its most recent gaming publication (Eds note – ‘Gambits’) the department has implied that this turnover method was somehow developed as a result of gaming industry concerns,” he said.

“This is complete and utter nonsense which has, unfortunately, been picked up by the media and is now well and truly in the public arena.”

“All we want is the ability to pay sites on an actual and reasonable basis and that such payment reflects the value of the site to us, the operator and the return to the local community.

“For the Department of Internal Affairs to now try and turn their own illegal gaff into something that was developed because of industry concerns is simply ridiculous. What we must do now is, as the High Court has indicated, work together to ensure an equitable system is developed which allows fair expenses to be claimed without jeopardising returns to the community.

“The Department must now review the way in which it regulates the gaming sector as the High Court ruling has found some fundamental flaws in the way in which it has been managing things,” said Mr Bray.

“Trying to spin themselves out of the situation which was demonstrably their fault is both unhelpful and confusing for industry participants.

“If it means Pub Charity must continue to seek judicial reviews to take the Department to task then so be it,” said Mr Bray.

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