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Govt falsely trying to sell SkyCity deal as reducing harm

7 May 2012

Govt falsely trying to sell SkyCity deal as reducing harm

The Government’s plan to greatly increase the number of pokies at SkyCity is being falsely sold by John Key as some sort of harm minimisation plan, Green Party gambling spokesperson Denise Roche said today.

Prime Minister John Key this morning stated that 483 pokie machines throughout New Zealand would be decommissioned this year, and that Sky City would not be getting more than that.

“The Prime Minister keeps acting as if his Government is personally on a crusade to lower the number of pokies we have in New Zealand,” said Ms Roche.

“This is misleading.

"There is a sinking lid policy related to pokie machines, but it stems from the work of councils throughout New Zealand, not any Government policy.

"John Key's deal is entirely separate from this and will mean that a foreign owned casino will be able to significantly boost the number of its machines.”

The number of problem gamblers using SkyCity casino has increased by almost 300% since 2008, according to recent media reports.

“Increasing the number of pokies machines at SkyCity means more problem gambling,” said Ms Roche.

“The Government’s dodgy deal with SkyCity is definitely is not going to lead to a reduction in harm from pokie machines.”

ENDS

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