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Problem Gambling Compromise Necessary: Flavell

The sponsor of the bill to address problem gambling says changes necessary to get it passed has reduced its impact, but it was still worth doing.

Te Ururoa Flavell said the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill was intended to minimise the harm caused by problem gambling which troubled too many communities.

Flavell said he did not have the luxury of waiting and had to compromise to make some progress.

Maori had three times the risks of problem gambling addiction and it was this glaring reality which led to the Maori Party’s determination to work on the issue.

The bill would help, but there had been changes due to the Maori Party having to compromise with National to ensure it passed, Flavell said.

``The bill is far less impressive than the one which introduced,’’ he said.

Flavell said he would continue to chisel away to make incremental change.

Labour MP Ruth Dyson said there had been heated debate in select committee and many upset submitters.

Flavell’s motivation in bringing the bill was exemplary and it was Parliament’s duty to reduce the opportunities for problem gamblers to abuse their addiction.

``I really regret what the committee did with the bill in the end… and the deal that was done,’’ Dyson said.

Flavell had the choice of walking away from the bill, which Dyson said she would have done in his place, but he had chosen to compromise to get some progress.

However she did not believe the bill made any progress and in fact would make things worse.

The bill completed its second reading by 63 to 57 with a personal vote held

MPs returned to the interrupted first reading debate on the Employment Relations (Statutory Minimum Redundancy Entitlements) Amendment Bill.

Earlier MPs completed part one of the Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Bill at 5.25pm by 69 to 51 with National, NZ First, ACT, Peter Dunne and Brendon Horan in favour.

The committee stage was completed and the bill was reported with amendment.

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