NZ G-Bill Goes Each Way
By Earl Williams
ONE News reports that a new law which tightens up the rules about playing on poker machines, and which bans the establishment of any new offline casino, has also had the ironic effect, from the point of view of anti-gamblers, of actually making gambling easier.

“We saw it as a truly responsible gambling bill...but as it's turned out it truly is a dog's breakfast,” says Green Party MP Sue Bradford.

The irony stems from last minute changes tacked on by legislators in the passing of the bill. For example, the New Zealand Lotteries Commission is now allowed to run Internet gambling. Also, pokie machines accept banknotes (cash) of $20 NZ, angering social agencies who need a more traceable transaction system to levy taxes on poker playing; taxes are needed for their social programs.

Most vocal in condemnation is Major Campbell Roberts, of the Christian Social Services Council. According to ONE News, Major Roberts said, “… the bill extends the opportunities for gambling and extends the [gambling] problems.” His Christian council is “pointing the finger at the United Future Party, which boasts a strong Christian base, as pushing some of the critical amendments and supporting the Labour Party on other issues like internet gambling,” the ONE News report continued.

“United Future, I suppose, have been about a platform of family and about responsibility and we would have hoped they would have taken a strong line opposing these particular liberalisations,” Roberts said.

However, United Future MP Marc Alexander said that the Christian’s comments “are unfair and the Greens have ‘lashed out at us without actually talking to us.’ ”

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