What Te Ururoa Flavell’s pokie reforms actually mean

NZ Herald

In an admirable move Te Ururoa Flavell is trying to stop stupid people wasting their money on pokies. This effort is doomed to fail because stupid people are too stupid to realise gambling is a tax on stupidity and will find another way of pissing away their hard earned cash, or more likely the tax payers harder earned benefit money.

So in a failing move Te Ururoa has tried to change the basis that pokies tax on stupidity is reallocated to the community, namely by taking money away from gaming trusts and giving it to local councils to distribute.

Mr Flavell’s private member’s bill would strip power from the gaming trusts which dominate the $700 million pokie industry in pubs and clubs.

It would put power to distribute the $300 million available to community groups in the hands of local authorities, wiping out the current funding bodies.

What this actually means is a lot less money for sports clubs and a lot more money for the arts. Everyone knows councils are full of liberal elite wankers who want us all to pay for their bourgeoisie hobbies, which is why we have highly expensive opera houses and theatres all over the country all making a loss for their council owners because the hoi polloi are not interested in arts.

This money could also be syphoned off onto Mayoral Task Forces to look into things “Green Business”, “Nikki Kaye’s Gay Mardi Gras” or “Public Transport for other people to use” rather than providing jerseys on the kids rugby and netball teams in your community.

The rest of the Flavell bill might be ok, but anything giving money to councils is doomed to have negative outcomes for the community. If you belong to a sports club or a community group that will lose money to council funded pet projects you should make a submission to the bill.


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  • tom80

    Great work, Mr Slater. I’m sure you are right that Flavell and his cohorts like Northey just want to get their hands on the money, for the marae and the opera. What annoys me about the Bill is that they are using the issue of gambling harm to secretly raid the pot for their own pet projects, which to my mind is way worse that anything they accuse the trusts of doing.

  • Gazzaw

    Better the devil you know. Why would anyone support $300 million being put into dysfunctional council hands to distribute at their behest. How much influence will the unelected Maori interest lobbyists have on the distribution of funds?

    • Le Sphincter

      Le Sphincter well remembers one social sports team sponsored by a pokie charity, where the sponsorship consisted of a bar tab on a Thursday night.
      Other bars would have the publican going through his bar ‘counting’ the social sports teams who were expected to turn up in return for a bit of money for uniforms or travel.

      Of course now, canny major  professional sports like both rugby codes and horse racing  will directly own a pub or have associates who do  and then be the head of the queue for the handouts , and we are talking over $.5 mill at a time. Then there is the captive pub charity which is controlled  by a  Rugby Union or similar.

      C’est la vie. meantime its  schools and genuine community groups who are missing out

    • Mr_Blobby

      If the maori party are involved then it is Guaranteed to be about distributing funds to unelected maori interests. Despite the fact that they keep harping on about disadvantaged this and disadvantaged that, it would be interesting to see the level of ownership; the billion dollar maori trusts have in the gaming industry like casinos.

  • AnonWgtn

    Give to Local Government – OUW!!!!!!!!!!!
    The bastards we have extract enormous amounts of money to pay the debts they incurred on behalf of the Ratepayers, and to keep increasing the staff numbers, the employment of which is outside the remit of the Councillors.
    The CEO is the employer and he changes every 3/4 years leaving the way open to the many factions within the organisation to continue get their own way.
    Bugger the Ratepayers – our jobs come first.
    I believe that only the named Ratepayers should be allowed to vote how their money is spent, not just everybody on a so called electoral role.
    Mind you only NZ Citizens should be allowed to vote in Parliamentary elections.

  • BJ

    Heres an idea – anyone that gambles has to have a Gamblers Card, whereby they are registered and that card records when they buy chips, tokens or whatever. All revenue from the pokies etc, less the particular establishments percentage then goes to a fund. Any social welfare recipient that is matched to a Gambling Card then has the equivalent amount of money that they have gambled away (less the pubs %) put back into the social welfare benefit pool so at least it is a money go round for these morons. Better still, no one on a benefit is allowed to have a Gambling Card in the first place.

    And, what’s more, why aren’t beneficiaries held to account over their spending habits – businesses and their employees have to get receipts and retain them for financial accountability – I certainly expect receipts from my children 1. so they are accountable for spending money I gave them for a particular purpose and 2. so they are not ignorantly frittering it away but can see on paper what they spent it on.

    I strongly believe if you are on a benefit there is an obligation to be brought to account, within reason, when the payment is not a gift – something needs to be learnt out of the exercise.

  • Slijmbal

    The bill has 5 pieces – ONLY 2 of which are actually about harm reduction (the title of the bill) – namely ability to arbitrarily get rid of pokies in a local authority and pre-commit/tracking cards for gamblers.  The rest is about getting the money out from the trusts and in to local authorities. $300m worth – a lot of which goes to charities.

    The trusts have done themselves no favours as some have done illegal or dubious practises in the past (recent in some cases). There have been issues with administrative costs and excessive trustee fees, inappropriate fees for getting pubs in to particular trusts etc.  These have been well publicised (no pun intended).  However, the bulk of the money is controlled by a relatively small number of the trusts who are legit as they are professional in their roles.

    However, completely scrapping the current set-up of 47 trusts and replace it with 100+ (some figures have 200+ but I work it out as 100+) committees set up by councils who must liaise with the local community is a recipe for disaster. A somewhat dubious trust is preferable to a council gaining control of the funds.  They’ll burn 1/2 the money in administration costs and the rest will go to local politically motivated initiatives rather than the not for profit sector – charities, sports clubs, community groups etc.

    The DIA should better use the powers it has, police the trusts properly and make it clear that unacceptable practises will lead to the winding up of the trust and the control of the funds given to  the more professional trusts. I am not on a trust by the way – I am on the board of a charity and we’re crapping ourselves if this goes ahead in its current form.  

  • Mike

    To get Ahead, first you have to have a Head.