It has recently been announced that the New Zealand government wants to spend over $50 million on harm reduction measures that aim to curb problem gambling rates in New Zealand. The measures will complement the country’s Harm Reduction Bill – but one thing continues to stand in the way. The Greens believe that the Sky City convention centre deal will counteract the effects of New Zealand’s new harm reduction stance, and the political party has issued its concerns in a new media release.
Earlier this year, PM John Key finalized a deal with Sky City, which would allow the casino operator to build the city’s new convention centre in return for adding anywhere from 350 to 500 new poker machines to its Auckland location. Since it was announced, the deal has stirred a great deal of controversy, and The Greens want to ensure that the public understands its risks.
While the Ministry of Health has not yet confirmed whether or not the new poker machines will require more funds for its harm reduction strategy, The Greens are certain that they will. Encouraging an increase in gambling activity is likely to increase the need for counselling and prevention programs in New Zealand, which would amount to a larger harm reduction budget.