Sports Fight Harm Reduction Bill

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.

Sports Organizations Receive $1 Billion from NZ Pokies

In New Zealand, many not-for-profit organizations rely on profits generated by poker machines in order to operator. So, it is no wonder that some groups are upset that the new Harm Reduction Bill aims to give local city councillors the power to decide where grant money goes – as it could leave plenty of sports clubs without funding.According to a new report, sports clubs seem to be so passionate about the Harm Reduction Bill as they have received more than $1 billion from pokies profits over the course of the past seven years. In 2011 alone, rugby clubs received $27 million while football groups were given $10 million.

“The bill doesn’t take away the right of any sports club or local community group to do what they want to,” says MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who authored the bill.

The Harm Reduction Bill is aimed at benefitting the local community; however , sports organizations are worried that it will interfere with their finances. It simply means that sports clubs will have to be less dependent on poker machine profits, finding funding from other resources – but clubs do not seem prepared to take that step.

Man Sentenced For Pokies Grant Fraud

In New Zealand, a large portion of the profits generated by poker machines are used to fund charities across the country. However, one individual has taken advantage of the system, claiming more than $600 000 worth of pokies grants that he was not entitled to.

Noel Henry Gibbons worked for the Manukau Bowl for three years starting in 2006. During that time, the organization had invested in a company which had a stake in pokies pubs. Gibbons applied for over $600 000 worth of grants for the pokies in those pubs, using the money to benefit the bowling green and to pay off loans used to purchase the pubs in the first place. He admitted to using forged documents to claim the funds, pleading guilty to the crime.

Gibbons appeared in court this week for his involvement in the scam. A 79-year-old man, he was sentenced to just 6 months of community service – due to his age and declining health. However, the judge wanted to make an example out of him, so as to discourage other individuals from trying similar scams.