A Maori Party bill intended to reduce problem gambling has passed into law this evening with its critics saying its compromised nature will make matters worse.
The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill was heavily amended in select committee with the Maori Party forced to compromise in order to get National’s support to pass it into law.
The bill’s sponsor Te Ururoa Flavell said his bill had a long history with National agreeing to support the bill to select committee as part of its deal with the Maori Party.
The bill was a beginning to reduce the harm from problem gambling with about 16,000 people classed as problem gamblers, he said.
This caused wider problems for families who lived in poverty due to members gambling.
The bill was not anti-gambling, but anti-gambling harm. The bill would have some gambling minimisation measures though they would now be done through regulation.
Flavell acknowledged there had to be compromise to get the support of National
Amongst other things he had failed to stop the racing industry benefiting from pokie money and also could not get National to agree to 80 percent of gambling money going back into the local community where it come from, but there would be a minimum return.
Labour’s Trevor Mallard said the bill was introduced with good intentions and caused intense debate about the harm gambling causes.
However the “road to hell was paved with good intentions” and the bill had been gutted by the Government and was now likely to cause more harm than good.
The bill passed its third reading by 63 to 55 with Labour calling for a personal vote. In the end the voting fell down party lines with National, Maori Party and ACT in favour.
After the dinner break MPs will hold the two hour debate on the second reading of the Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Bill.
These will be followed by the interrupted first reading debate on the Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill.