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Gambling Amendment Bill Committee of the Whole House

Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill
Committee of the Whole House; Wednesday 7 August 2013; 9.20pm

Te Ururoa Flavell, Māori Party Co-leader

Tēnā koe, Mr Chairperson.  Kia orana.  Kia ora tātou katoa.

Knowing that time is running out I thought I would take the opportunity, having put our case at the start of this debate, to respond to some of the issues that have been put in front of the Committee tonight. The first one I want to take up is to my colleague from the Green Party, and my whanaunga from  Ngāti Raukawa, Denise Roche. She sort of put the heat on me by saying that around Māori communities and Pasifika communities—I really got the feeling that she was having a jab at me—saying did I really know what they feel. I have got to tell her that I do know what they feel. I understand what they feel. I have had family members and I have seen family members who have lost their marriages, their partners, their husbands, their wives, and their houses. I know what they feel. I want to tell her that.

The second part that she talked about was that our bill will do nothing. I can say in front of this Committee that the motivation for this bill was against that background of a real desire to do something about the effects of pokie machines on our communities, and I will not resile from changing that position for anyone.

The third part—and I take her point in respect of the racing industry—I accept her amendment and will be supporting it. So she knows, because we are allowed to do that and we will see what the outcome of that discussion is.

To Mr Hipkins, I understand his issue with respect to national organisations, but you have heard the response back from the Green member and I leave it there, but I understand the issue around national organisations. It would have been good for him to have put in an amendment if he wanted to really shake that one up.

To Mr Iain Lees-Galloway, tēnā koe. The first thing I want to say to him is that the word is  Taihape, not “Tai-ha-pee” or “Tai-happy”—just to help him out if he happens to visit his constituency. And one of the things—[Interruption] Sorry, I did not mean it like that. I meant if you are moving into that area. Sorry about that—my apologies. I did want to say that Mr Lees-Galloway and a number of members have talked about democracy a lot tonight. You have got the two major parties and it is all very well when we talk numbers, but in this case, I do not think it takes too much imagination to understand that as a small party, getting one or two opportunities to place bills in front of this House, you have got to work with whoever is in line or else forget it.

Some people have said that we should have withdrawn the bill. I say “No way!”. It was put up with the right intentions, and sure, we did not get everything we wanted, not at this point in time, but the good thing is that we have been able to negotiate, as I said earlier, with the Hon Chris Tremain to be able to move things into the future and future bills for the Minister. I am pleased about that because it will still achieve the goal and we have been looking long term into the future. As three members in this Parliament, that is how democracy works. You have got to play the game, you have got to understand the game, and I will not resile from the opportunity that we had to place the bill in front of this Parliament.

It is interesting that those Opposition people might disagree with the Māori Party and say “Oh, you should have done more.”, but I did not hear any bills from the Labour Party in respect of this issue over the time that I have been in Parliament. I have not heard any of that. I looked at the last Order Paper and I did not see any paper in respect of gambling. So please do not preach to me about what I should do. So that is the next part.

To the Hon Maryan Street, I am fine with her discussion. That was all right. To Su’a William Sio—he talked about some of the organisations being a little bit disappointed that it did not go far enough. In fact, they said it did not do anything. I reject that. I reject that on the basis that, as I say, you have got to put it in the bigger picture about the long-term goal. I would just say, I suppose in closing, that the Māori Party will be supporting some of the amendments, as I declared at the start of this debate, because they were a part of the original intent. We did not get all of the things that we wanted. We got some things, not all. That is well known. So we will be supporting some of those amendments. Others we will not be supporting, and we will see when we go through the vote in a short space in time. I just wanted to wrap that up to make sure that everybody is clear about what we are doing.

However, I appreciate generally the comments that have been made and the acknowledgments that have been made in respect of this bill. Hopefully, we will get another one drawn very soon. Kia ora tātou.

ENDS

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