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Does The Gambling Minister Know What She’s Doing?

If the Minister of Internal Affairs genuinely wants to reduce gambling harm in Aotearoa, the proposals in a recently released discussion document won't do it. But is Jan Tinetti being insincere, or has she been misguided by her Department?

David Hay, Chair of Feed Families Not Pokies Aotearoa, welcomes the government’s proposed review of pokie gambling regulations, but asks if Hon. Jan Tinetti, the Minister of Internal Affairs, who is responsible for gambling, knows what she is doing.

“I am glad the government has launched a review of how pokie gambling is regulated, and has invited the public to comment on a discussion document, because action on problem gambling is necessary and long overdue,” said Mr Hay.

“But as an experienced policy professional I must say the public discussion document is embarrassingly bad: incomplete, vague, and in some parts quite misleading. It invites people to comment on the wrong solutions to an irrelevant problem.”

“I don’t know if the Minister intended to do this, or whether she has been guided by her Department into launching a process that gives the impression of doing something to reduce gambling harm, but will deliver little or no result,” said Mr Hay.

“If the Minister genuinely wants to address the long-standing and widespread failure of pokie regulation in Aotearoa, then we have this advice for her:

Regulations are not the problem, Minister. You need to focus on the acts and omissions of the Regulator. And you will need to obtain independent, authoritative, and contestable advice to manage this portfolio effectively.”

“We want to support the Minister in this review process but we don’t know where she really stands on the issue of gambling harm, or if she can get what she wants out of her Department. We have asked her office for a meeting, but so far received no response,” said Mr Hay.

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