The Harm Reduction Bill, authored by MP Te Ururoa Flavell, has seen a great deal of support thus far. Local residents and city councillors are confident that the bill will improve the community by reducing the potential harm that they could cause. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the bill this way, as sports organizations are fighting the proposed plan for Harm Reduction.
The provision that sports organizations are resisting is one that will give city councillors the right to decide how pokies funds are distributed. Sports groups believe that pokies trusts should be in charge of the funds rather than city councils, and are worried that they will lose their funding as a result of this change.
Hawke’s Bay Roller Derby is just the latest group to lobby against some of the changed proposed by the Harm Reduction Bill. The group states that pokies grants currently provide valuable funding for equipment and services required by players, and the roller derby could greatly suffer is funding were to be cut.
The news comes just days after the New Zealand Rugby Union announced that the Harm Reduction Bill would drive participation fees up by 500%. The group obtains more than 20% of its funding from pokies grants, and the loss of the resource would result in negative changes for the league.
The NZRU and the Roller Derby group are just two organizations that have made submissions opposing this provision. The commerce committee will review these documents this month and present them at a hearing in November.