It has been an arduous uphill battle for MP Te Ururoa Flavell, but his Gambling Harm Minimisation Bill has finally been passed. The legislation that has been passed is a far cry from his original proposal, but he is optimistic about its potential effects on the local community.
Shortly after Mr Flavell presented his bill, it was amended by a select committee. According to responsible gambling groups across the country, the ‘watered down’ bill was hardly recognizable, and they asked the author to withdraw it – but Flavell persisted.
“It is a bittersweet moment for me. When I think back to where we came from and the original intent of the bill, of course I am disappointed,” he says. “But, I have chosen to pursue change, and in my view this bill represents a small step in the right direction.”
The Harm Minimisation Bill will changed the way in which poker machines are regulated across the country. It will not only increase the amount of money that pokies donate to community organizations; it will also increase transparency, so that gaming trusts cannot misappropriate funds.
The Department of Internal Affairs supports the passing of the bill, and representatives will work with Flavell to ensure that its terms are enforced throughout the country.