The Herald today reveals that, in 2001, Judith Collins, when she chaired the Casino Control Authority before entering Parliament, rubber-stamped a ‘pokies for convention centre’ deal with SkyCity. This despite her conceding casino pokies cause outsize harm. This neglect of duty by the now Nat Minister was a trigger for the then Labour Government to intervene and limit the number of pokies by statute.
National voted against the Gambling Act 2 years after Collins’ deal with SkyCity and, now a first term MP, she spoke against it in each reading . Collins’ grounds were confused, first she said “Internet gambling and gambling on pokie machines are the two most addictive forms of gambling. That is a proven fact. Every international study has shown it” but then she complained that Labour was trying to tax pokies out of existence and defended casinos: “What is the harm that the registered casinos are producing?”
She also made an interesting reference at committee stage to money laundering through SkyCity, something that National is now trying to claim doesn’t happen.
Now, National’s trying to do another favour for the cancer at the heart of Auckland but, thanks to Labour, they can’t do it on the quiet. It will have to go through Parliament.