The politicians should AT LEAST send this bill to a select committee. The issue of problem gambling and its harm to families needs to be faced and debated. The government is continuing with their ‘head in the sand’ approach on this family issue.
Conscience vote gives poker machine bill’s chances a boost
NZ Herald Nov 10, 2010
Parliament’s Speaker Dr Lockwood Smith has given a late boost to a Maori Party bill to phase out poker machine trusts by giving MPs a conscience vote on the issue. Dr Smith notified Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell yesterday that he would allow a “personal vote” on the bill, in line with a convention letting MPs exercise their individual consciences on alcohol and gambling issues. But the ruling appears to have come too late to change decisions already made by the National, Act and United Future caucuses to oppose the bill. The three parties have 64 of Parliament’s 122 MPs, enough to stop the bill at its first reading, which could come today.
Some quick facts:
* A 2002/03 New Zealand Health Survey showed almost two thirds of problem gamblers lived in 40 per cent of New Zealand’s most socio-economically deprived areas.
* A report titled Problem Gambling Geography showed around half of non casino gaming machines (NCGM) and TABs are located in the 30 per cent most socio-economically deprived parts of New Zealand.
* Significant risk factors include being between 25-34, Maori or Pacific ethnicity, lower educational attainment, being employed and living alone.
* There are far too many pokie machines in our communities. Recent figures show 1 machine for every 146 kiwis, yet 1 for every 4000 in US. This may have improved slightly to 1 machine for every 180 since the Gambling Act 2003 – but is still way too high. Source: Problem Gambling Committee report April 2003
* Problem gambling is strongly associated with risky drinking behaviour and smoking. Other health problems for gamblers include stress-related health problems, major mental problems, and medical conditions. Of most concern is the impact on families including domestic violence, unsupervised children, children going without food clothes and other necessities, and US research suggesting a link between gambling and physical and emotional abuse.
* Children of problem gamblers were reported to be two to three times more likely to be abused by both the gambler and his or her spouse than their peers.
* In a 2005 study on assault the most frequently cited reason for assault on women, with the exception not known which was 41.5%, was alcohol and gambling on 37% of interviewees.
* A woman whose partner was a problem gambler is 10.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence from her partner than partners of a non-problem gambler.
* NZ research has also found links between problem or pathological gambling and committing crime.
…Mr Flavell’s bill would require all poker gamblers to get “pre-commit cards” that would turn off the poker machines they were using when they reached spending limits programmed into the cards in advance – before they became mesmerised by the machines. It would also replace the trusts which now distribute poker machine proceeds with committees appointed by local councils. Councils would be able to ban poker machines in vulnerable areas, 80 per cent of proceeds from the machines would have to be distributed locally and payments to the racing industry would be banned.
UPDATE: Plea to Send Pokie Bill to Select Committee for Debate
Family First Media Release 10 Nov 2010
Family First NZ is pleading with National, ACT and United Future MP’s to send Te Ururoa Flavell’s pokie machine bill to a Select Committee so that the lid can be lifted on the issue of problem gambling and also the appropriate allocation of proceeds from the machines.