Smaller Convention Centre Should Mean Less Pokies

Media Release 26 May 2015
Family First NZ says that with the downsizing of the SkyCity Convention Centre, the legislative concession for allowing an increased number of pokie machines should be significantly reduced, if not scrapped.

“As we said from the outset, this deal will only hurt families, and there is still debate over the need for the Centre at all. A Convention Centre may sound good but not when it is being funded on gambling losses. Government deals and legislative concessions should not be used as cheerleaders for casinos and the gambling industry,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The law change necessary for the deal is still completely contrary to the Gambling Act which seeks to reduce gambling harm. Casinos thrive on the false promise of getting rich quickly, but the reality is that those who can least afford to gamble are gambling themselves deeper into debt.”

“We’re also concerned that the process was not robust. There were four other interested parties in building a convention centre. The Deputy Auditor-General was concerned with how unfairly they were treated in the tendering process. What has been shown is that the Convention Centre – if needed – could be built without a mass increase in pokie machines,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Of most concern is the impact on families including domestic violence, unsupervised children in casino carparks, children going without food clothes and other necessities, and US research suggesting a link between gambling and physical and emotional abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Any government partnership with the gambling industry spells bad news for families.”

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