Winston Peters Called Auckland a ‘City of Sin’

NZ First leader Winston Peters is outraged at the leniency that New Zealand politicians are exercising with regards to gambling laws in Auckland. Last week, he made a speech condemning the city for its relaxing gambling laws and the new potential for crime in the city.

Peters stood before Grey Power, and spoke out against Sky City’s new deal with China Southern Airlines. The deal will fast-track the visa process for high roller casino players, and Peters believes that will encourage more crime. It is likely that it will make it easier for criminals to launder money and conduct other illegal business at SkyCity.

He is also outraged that a 15-storey brothel will be opening up across the street from the casino. He believes that the new venue, combined with the lenient visa laws, will make it easier for human trafficking and other sex crimes to take place.

“What is really happening to Auckland?” Peters asks. “The seven deadly sins are apparently alive and well here”.

Residents are also upset about the new developments but few other politicians have spoken out. It is a worrying state of affairs, but it seems that locals can only hope for the best at this point.

Final Sky City Convention Centre Deal Angers Locals

Sky City and Premier John Key have finally come to a settlement with regards to the terms of their convention centre deal. In return for Sky City spending $402 million to build Auckland’s new convention centre, the casino operator will be granted permission to install nearly 300 new games and will have its license extended.

The deal will go ahead as planned, even though the Auditor General confirmed that the deal was not entirely fair to other bidders. After the Auditor General weighed in, local residents requested that the deal be abandoned – but neither party would be deterred. Now, they have settled on a final plan – and residents are still incensed.

Sky City will spend $315 million on the construction of the centre and $87 million on land costs. In return, the casino will receive 230 new pokies and 40 new table games. The casino’s license will also be extended from 2021 to 2042.

“Sky City has been given preferential treatment from whoa to go and the Government has even bent the immigration visa rules to deliver rich gamblers to the casino,” says Rt Hon Winston Peters. “We can see little good coming from this shabby, seedy, money grubbing deal”.

It is likely that residents will protest the deal. Kiwis are not at all impressed with the terms of the deal, and they will fight to ensure that it does not go forward.

New Zealand Gambling Spending Falls

In New Zealand, gambling spending is on the decline. According to statistics released by the Department of Internal Affairs, Kiwis spent 4% less on gambling than they had in the previous year. Local responsible gambling advocates have taken this to mean that residents are becoming more aware of the potential harms of gambling.

As a result of the fall in spending, several other gambling-related numbers have taken a dive. For example, the number of gaming license holders has fallen to 353 from 359 in 2012. The total number of pokies has also declined. In 2012, there were 18 001 pokies; now, there are just 17 542.

While a decline in spending may be negative for gaming clubs and the gambling industry as a whole, it is positive thing for local residents. Over the course of the past few years, gambling addiction numbers have climbed to an all-time high in New Zealand. Local politicians have been working hard to reduce problem gambling rates, and their efforts are paying off.

The introduction of MP Te Ururoa Flavell’s Harm Reduction Bill seems to have alerted locals to the harms of gambling. The bill has received a great deal of media attention, and it is likely to have discouraged some punters from wagering on pokies in the past year.