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Social agencies biggest losers in stacked race

Press Release: Social agencies biggest losers in stacked race

November 9, 2012

A mentoring organisation that has lost funding in the racing industry takeover of pokie machines says community organisations are the big losers in a stacked race.

“It’s just not a fair race anymore,” says Big Buddy CEO Richard Aston. “When these machines were being operated by the Trusts Charitable Foundation, we used to get approximately $20,000 in Wellington. That will be reduced to nothing under the racing industry’s watch.”

After a series of damning audit reports, the previous owners of the pokie machines – now called the Trusts Community Foundation – was forced to restructure and sell the machines. They were bought by the New Zealand Racing Board after it was granted a Class 4 gambling licence.

The takeover is expected to strip nearly $20million out of community and sporting groups.

“This move flies in the face of the social contract that is supposed to ensure a fair percentage of gaming machine proceeds go back into communities,” says Richard Aston. “How Racing Minister Nathan Guy and Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain sanctioned this is beyond me.”

“I fully support Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei and Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell’s calls for a review of this decision. Quite frankly, it doesn’t make social sense and it smacks of cronyism.”

Richard Aston says social agencies like Big Buddy, which matches well-screened male volunteer male mentors with fatherless boys, have stoically weathered the Recession but are tiring of funding cutbacks.

“We’ve all kept scratching around like headless chickens for funding to keep providing much-needed social services. What we need is for the Government to play its part by not helping commercial enterprises like the racing industry make bigger profits at our expense.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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Gordon Campbell:
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For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

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As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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