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Advice on pokies

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, April 5th, 2012 - 83 comments
Categories: crime, Ethics, john key, Social issues - Tags: , ,

Yesterday RNZ reported:

Govt refusing to release advice on pokies

The Government is refusing to disclose official advice about a proposal to increase the number of gaming machines at Sky City casino in Auckland as part of a deal to build a new convention centre.

In response to a request under the Official Information Act, outgoing Internal Affairs Minister Amy Adams refused to release reports she has received about the proposal.

Gee I wonder why they won’t release the advice. Could it be because it would be similar to the advice of the Problem Gambling Foundation:

Problem gambling creates morally bankrupt society

Press Release: Problem Gambling Foundation
17 August 2005

“The murder of a Taranaki man is possibly the worst result of problem gambling,” says John Stansfield, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

“Reports show that gambling-related crime is becoming more violent, involving greater amounts of money and causing more harm to communities,” says Mr Stansfield.

“We are seeing individuals commit acts of kidnapping and extortion, fraud, neglect and a variety of other crimes in order to feed gambling problems via the pokie machines. … Each year over 5000 New Zealanders are convicted of gambling-related crimes.

A 2004 KPMG study found that gambling was the second highest motivator for serious property crime, and the highest motivator for fraud.

Gambling affects more than individuals. For every person with a gambling problem, seven people are affected. These people are whanau, children, friends, employers and the wider community. “The economic, social and cultural costs to this community are huge,” he says. …

Government Minister Tariana Turia, who says that problem gambling is “one of the most serious hazards facing communities”, gives the following advice:

…The biggest challenge ahead for us all is not to become submerged under the turbulent waters associated with problem gambling; but to stay united and strong on the aspirations of our whanau. …

What we know from all the facts and figures around us, is that Maori are over-represented as clients, as significant others, as those affected by gambling.The New Zealand Health Survey showed that Maori were approximately four times more likely to be problem gamblers than the rest of the population. …

All too often we know that the harm of gambling is inter-generational. Gambling has become normalised – the card games played for money in our youth; housie nights at the marae; or batons up to raise funds for the club has become replaced by new forms of gambling dominated by the pokie machines.

Other government ministers and bodies have plenty of advice:

$55m package for problem gambling announced

Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne have announced a new funding package and plans to tackle problem gambling today.

“The Problem Gambling Levy, which is imposed on gambling operators, has been set at 0.9% of the forecast $5.9 billion gross profits from gambling over the next three years,” says Mr Guy.

“This $55m in funding goes to the Ministry of Health to fund problem gambling services and minimise the harm caused in communities. It will be used on frontline counselling, including dedicated services for Maori, Pacific and Asian communities. “It will also be used on prevention activities that encourage safe gambling practices and on scientific research and evaluation.

“Cabinet has decided that the weighting formula will remain the same as for the previous three years. Pokie machine operators will continue to pay the highest share of the levy, as this is where most problem gambling is associated.

Mr Dunne has welcomed the release of the Ministry of Health’s Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm Strategic Plan 2010/11-2015/16, and the Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm Service Plan 2010/11-2012/13.

“Gambling harm continues to have a significant impact on New Zealand communities, but the funding package and measures announced today build on the Government’s commitment to address this issue,” says Mr Dunne.

“These strategies, along with the levy, will help us combat the harm caused in communities by problem gambling.”

The plans are available online at http://www.moh.govt.nz/problemgambling

No, the Nats don’t want to hear any more advice like that, so they will keep blocking the current reports. And John Key will keep lying:

“Prime Minister John Key says hundreds of extra pokies at Sky City Casino will not increase gambling addiction”

Bollocks.

83 comments on “Advice on pokies ”

  1. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1

    I do not know, because I never go there, but are people queued up four deep at the existing pokies, waiting for a turn to throw away their money?

    If not, how will having more pokies mean more problem gamblers?

    If we put an broccoli stall on every street corner, would broccoli sales go through the roof?

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.1

      Very cute, Gormless, but just to bring you back down to Earth for a moment, there is plenty of information available about the various ways slot machines attract and retain their hosts.

    • r0b 1.2

      Broccoli is the wrong analogy GF. Think cocaine.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.2.1

        Broccoli is better than cocaine.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.3

      There probably isnt any more room within the existing building, so the convention centre will give more floor space and a new location a bit away from the existing areas.
      And YES , during peak times the slots are pretty full.

    • bbfloyd 1.4

      apart from being proudly ignorant of reality, you quite cleverly? use a completely disparate comparison to demonstrate your a) total inability to grasp the issue at the most basic level, and b) your desperation to defend a liar and thief who is prepared to do harm to those already vulnerable in order to assist his party’s backers…..

      for shame gormy youngling…..do you not have any connection to your own country at all? or are you not a new zealander?

    • Does ignoring problem gambling make it go away??

      If it’s as simple as that, we coulds save billions by simply ignoring alcohol abuse, unemployment (which National does already), drink-driving, drug abuse…

      Easy peasy, eh?

      • Balanced View 1.5.1

        Ironic that you used unemployment in your argument. This centre has been forecast to add 1000 jobs for construction, then 800 ongoing after that. When you consider the substantial tourism benefit, and all those that benefit from that, I think you’ll find it difficult to use the “National don’t do anything to resolve unemployment” argument in this particular issue.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.5.1.1

          “National don’t do anything to resolve unemployment”

          Who are you quoting because it wasn’t Frank or the post.

        • Frank Macskasy 1.5.1.2

          I somehow doubt if tourists spends thousands of dollars, euros, yen, etc, to travel all the way to NZ to sit in stuffy, dimly lit rooms to play pokie machines…

          ““National don’t do anything to resolve unemployment”

          ???

          Your argument about 1,800 jobs is Dear Leader’s spin. Considering his predilection to tell lies, I wouldn’t put much stock in it..

          And 1,800 jobs is a long way from 170,000. Gambling is not exactly a productive industry, is it? Gambling, prostitution, tobacco – If this is National’s “Bright New Future” – FAIL.

          • Gosman 1.5.1.2.1

            Gambling is essentially entertainment. You might like to argue that non productive industries should be discouraged or even banned but the implications of that is you will lose a huge amounts of economic activity and annoy a lot of people. After all can you explain the economic benefits of say a Movie theater?

            • Frank Macskasy 1.5.1.2.1.1

              With that comment, I retract my previous assessment of you. You aren’t that smart after all.

              • Colonial Viper

                Gambling is essentially entertainment.

                So is eating for some people. Until it kills them, that is.

                • felix

                  Heroin is essentially entertainment.

                • Balanced View

                  Gosman’s point was that Gambling is a productive industry.

                  • McFlock

                    For a cherry-picked value of “productive”. It’s also a very destructive industry. Overall, it does more harm than any “production” it generates.

                  • So is drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and cigarettes according to that idiotic proposition.

                    Honestly, some of you right wingers have taken leave of your senses.

                    • Balanced View

                      Idiotice?? You can take your analogies both ways, does agriculture include marijuana cultivation?
                      Every industry has a negative impact of some sort – I challenge you to find one that doesn’t. It’s up to everyone to weigh up The pro’s and con’s of each opportunity to determine their preferred course of action
                      I personally don’t think adding another 500 machines to the over 18,000 already in the country, in a location that already has 1600, will add significantly to the social issue of problem gambling.
                      I do think that the impact of having a convention centre large enough to attract international conferences will add significant incremental tourism dollars to NZ.
                      Thus, I support this decision.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I personally don’t think adding another 500 machines to the over 18,000 already in the country, in a location that already has 1600, will add significantly to the social issue of problem gambling.

                      I don’t think they will add significantly to corporate gambling profits so they should be cancelled.

                    • mac1

                      Reply to ‘balanced view’ above.

                      Why would a business put 500 more pokey machines into its repertoire other than to make more profit? What will more profit for the casino mean to the losers on the pokey machines ( as most are) but less money for the gambler (however well ‘entertained’ though they be), more misery and more problems with problem gambling, addiction, social harm to family, friends and society?

                      The casinos will bet that a significant investment will bring about a significant profit which will produce consequent significant social harm, though they will say that is not a consequence that they seek.

                      As with tobacco companies, addiction and disease.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      “Balanced View” what a fracking corporatist joke.

                    • Balanced View

                      Of course they want to make more profit. They will also make a profit from the proposed convention centre. They are looking out for themselves and who can blame them.
                      But most of their turnover wouldn’t come from those addicted to gambling. Most of their turnover would come from people quite prepared (although maybe not happy) to have spent their money, using disposable income that would have been spent anyway. Sky City “owes” me about $1000, but I’m not silly enough to suggest that if I hadn’t walked through their doors that money would still be sitting in my bank account.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      To corporate casino types like Balance, human collateral damage is quite acceptable in the chase for a few more dollars.

                      Immoral little fucks.

                      They will also make a profit from the proposed convention centre. They are looking out for themselves and who can blame them.

                      You sad little souless corporate apologist.

                      How many public tax payer funded events has John Key promised SkyCity to keep their new conference facility busy and profitable then?

                    • Balanced View

                      Are you willing to take the blinkers off and look at the bigger picture Viper? Because if you do you will see that part of the “human collateral damage” is a lot of extra jobs for New Zealand families to enjoy.
                      I accept there will be negative impacts for some (although as already stated, a lot less than some are suggesting), but I believe that substantially more NZ families will benefit. Do you not take a course of action that will help thousands because it might impact one negatively?
                      As for your John Key comment, as usual from you, unfounded speculation.
                      On another note, great win for the Chiefs, off to bed now.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I accept there will be negative impacts for some (although as already stated, a lot less than some are suggesting), but I believe that substantially more NZ families will benefit.

                      You sad little shit.

                      Right wing corporate apologist, deal out your corporate brand of misery, I know that to you, human suffering is quite acceptable in your chase for profits.

                      Do you not take a course of action that will help thousands because it might impact one negatively?

                      So now thousands of jobs are going to be created and only one person will be negatively impacted by the pokies?

                      You’re delusional.

                      On another note, great win for the Chiefs, off to bed now.

                      And I bet you sleep well like a little baby, you fucking little sociopath.

                    • mac1

                      ‘balanced view’ Your use of the word ‘most’ to defend casino operators in their taking of profit from punters including the addicted and problem gamblers lies at the crux of the argument.

                      How much can a society tolerate in terms of social damage done in order to allow activities such as gambling, smoking, drinking, drug-taking, driving, gun ownership?

                      My view is that political patronage and fund-raising linked with casino profit-making is not a justifiable reason to increase the level of the evils of gambling.

                    • rosy

                      Issue 1:
                      Didn’t the MED report suggest the best case cost/benefit was 0.8-1.4 for every $ spent?

                      Make of that what you will. It’s a business decision, and to date no developer has been willing to fund it. But fair enough, if it’s worth it go ahead with proper funding.

                      Issue 2: The second issue is the funding of a convention centre because no private developer can see enough benefit it it. And here is where the controversy is – The MED didn’t take into account selling legislation (and my support disappears on this aspect alone). Nor did it take into account increased gambling problems, more money being spent to support families of addicts (e.g social security), treatment programmes and the costs of increase crime and other harm. The links on this post give an idea of the scale of the problem.

                      The government is not onto a winner here. It’ll cost the taxpayer a heap of dosh to go anywhere near fixing the social harm that will result from the proposed funding stream for the convention centre.

                      It’s not a balanced view to look at that and then say it’ll create 1,000s of jobs. It’s ignoring the information and carrying on with business as usual – a very conservative view.

                    • Balanced View

                      Hi Rosy, thanks for your reasoned argument, Viper gets a bit cranky after 1am.
                      The MED report cost/benefit calculation was for the convention centre as a business entity only. So their is a fair amount of risk for private business to take this on.
                      But the MED report also signaled tourism benefit of over $80M.
                      My position is not as a “corporate apologist” as I’ve been labeled here.
                      For me, the two issues are;
                      1. Is the govt. taking the right action in changing legislation to allow Sky City to house more machines in return for a convention centre being built?
                      2. Will this decision greatly add to problem gambling enough to overcome the proposed tourism benefits?
                      I genuinely believe that the SOCIAL benefit of the extra jobs and income this tourism will provide to NZ families, will greatly out weigh the negative impacts towards problem gambling.
                      So, with this in mind I think that changing the legislation is being done for the right reasons, so I’m ok with it.

                    • rosy

                      BV, fair enough. We come to completely different views depending on how we weigh the factors. I was surprised to see Fran O’Sullivan in the Herald arguing against cronyism and the increase in pokies because of the destruction these machines cause. Way beyond a left/right issue IMO.

                  • Ah, yes, well, Gosman would argue that Nazism was productive, if he could score “points” of anyone.

                    I wouldn’t put much stock in his self-indulgent ramblings.

                    Anyway, BV – can you define “productive industry” when it comes to gambling? Because studies show that it’s actually a parasitic industry and does not contribute very much by way of productive growth.

                    It would be like saying heroin production or prostitution is a “productive industry”. Only an amoral libertarian fool would say that.

                    And whilst I have no problem with consenting adults doing their own ‘thing’ – it’s not entirely a free-for-for-all. Especially when gambling affects entire families. Saying that “they should just stop gambling” (as Biscuitbrains did) shows how lacking in insight right wingers are.

                    • Balanced View

                      Certainly. Productive in that it creates jobs for families directly, and indirectly through associated businesses.
                      And as stated previously, your heroin or prostitution analogy is ridiculous and could be argued the same way for other industries you would most likely have no issue with.
                      And paraphrasing one person and applying their ideology to everyone of a certain political standing, is probably a bit foolish and perhaps points to yourself as being lacking in insight. Wouldn’t you think?

                    • RedLogix

                      What counts as ‘productive’ is always somewhat slippery to define.

                      For instance if a farmer grows produce, or a man builds a house we have no problem with defining that as ‘wealth’ generating. (Although if you count all the external costs sometimes they might not generate near as much wealth as we think).

                      At the other extreme no-one accepts that a burglar for instance is generating wealth.

                      Many economic activities, entertainment for instance, fall into a rather grey area in between. If you allow movies and music to be productive because they make people happy, then on that basis prostitution and drug addiction are ok as well.

                      You might want to think about how you want to go about defining what is ‘productive’ or not.

                    • Balanced View

                      Thank Red, I assume this post was directed to Frank

                  • Certainly. Productive in that it creates jobs for families directly, and indirectly through associated businesses.
                    And as stated previously, your heroin or prostitution analogy is ridiculous and could be argued the same way for other industries you would most likely have no issue with.

                    Oh really? So my Heroin analogy is “ridiculous” – but gambling is “productive”?

                    And yet, you can’t deny that growing opium poppies; harvesting’ processing; transportation; “marketing” – all creates jobs.

                    My analogy is spot on. It’s your warped libertarian world-view that doesn’t stack up.

                    As for gambling being production for ” indirectly through associated businesses” – you’ve obviously missed reports which outline the parasitic nature of gambling on local businesses.

                    I could find the references – but like Gosman – you’d ignore that which is inconvenient.

                    You libertarians are a joke. No wonder you poll lower than ACT.

                    By the way; building atomic weapons could also be considered “productive”, considering the number of jobs and down-stream benefits for businesses. But the end-product of this industry – if ever used as per directions on the labels – would not be a good day for business.

                    Not everything that is “productive” is beneficial.

                    • RedLogix

                      In other words Frank, objectivism is bunk because life isn’t ‘value-free’.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yep. And because some irritating and subversive holdouts refuse to sell their values out to the “market”.

                    • Indeed, gentlemen.

                    • Balanced View

                      Nice post Frank. Plenty to think about there.
                      Out of interest, would you remove all gambling business if you had the opportunity?

                    • McFlock

                      “Out of interest” from a tory just before they ask a question on the interwebz is like the exaggerated casual whistle from a particularly stupid burglar before they steal an empty cash box.
                                 
                      Delicate trap you set there, asking for a ruling on all gambling business. I’m not sure there’s any evidence of too any people being addicted to the bright lights of the school bingo hall.

                    • felix

                      Tricksy hobbitses.

                    • Balanced View

                      But you see my point. The arguments that have been stated apply to ALL gambling. This will be an interesting answer.

                    • McFlock

                      your point was an unimaginative slide, number 6 in the “Bumper Book of Tory Tricks”. It’s like bringing up fender-benders when someone suggests more should be done to protect vehicle occupants from high-speed accidents.
                          
                      But thanks for admitting that you had a point you were angling for, rather than just asking a question “out of interest”.
                        

                    • Balanced View

                      So cynical Flocker. No tricks here, just trying to understand where Frank is coming from

                    • McFlock

                      Bullshit.
                           
                      If you really had the curiosity that you claim to have, your questions wouldn’t be so broad as to be pointless. You’re just fishing for opportunities to extract an example for a reduction to absurdity.
                         
                      You’ve stopped channelling PeteG, now you’re channelling Gos.

                    • Balanced View

                      Absurdity? Far too late for that, we’ve already had analogies of Heroin trade and prostitution raised.

                    • felix

                      Why are those more “absurd” than pokies? Serious question.

                    • McFlock

                      You an expert on addiction? If not, what would you know.
                           
                      But if you think the conversation is already absurd, but still keep prodding along with painfully obvious questions “out of interest”, what does that make you? As far as I can see it suggests that you are either an idiot or a troll.
                       

                    • Balanced View

                      In relation to this issue they are absurd.
                      How has heroin got anything to do with a proposed 2% increase in the number of pokie machines, or the fact that legislation must change to do it?

                    • McFlock

                      Hmmmm. Obviously you have no short term memory. How about you press ctrl-f, search for “heroin”, and then reread the discussion.
                           
                      Framing it as a 2% increase in poky machines was interesting. Sky City has 25,000 slot machines? Sheesh.
                      But then of course you, being “balanced”, would bend over backwards to avoid acknowledging that it looks a lot like the government changing the law in exchange for a parasitic corporation investing in an unneeded coference centre. An investment it will make back from the 300 additional poky addicts the shoddy deal will likely create.

            • seeker 1.5.1.2.1.2

              @ Unbalanced View 1.11am

              “They are looking out for themselves and who can blame them.”

              Anyone who had a heart, an ounce of integrity and loyalty to their country, that’s who.
              Skycity must rate 500 pokie machines as highly valuable in order to exchange them for building a conference centre, so don’t dismiss them as ‘only 500’. Only 500 will do a power of damage. I can’t believe that New Zealand has voted in such an amoral, disloyal, ignoble government that actually harms it’s citizens and also, actually tries to justify and defend the indefensible.

              It is apt that this should be taking place in what is known in the Anglican Church as Holy Week, the week leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. On the day before Good Friday, when he was crucified, Christ and his disciples had their last supper after which Judas left to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, justifying it to himself all the while. He was also aided and abetted in his justification by the Sanhedrin (priests), who had set up the deal with him and who wanted Jesus out of the way as they felt, arrogantly, that he was ruining their pitch. “They were looking out for themselves” and it is nice to know that Unbalanced View would not have blamed them.

              Ironically on Thursday (the day before Good Friday) much was being made of Joyce and Key’s imminent sell out or betrayal of New Zealand, for 500 pokie machines. Parallels or what? I now know what Christ must have felt like- knowing Judas was going to betray him, and that Judas knew it too, and yet stiill went ahead and did it. I hope Joyce stops in time because we all know what happened to Judas.

              What I will have great difficulty with is forgiving them if they do go ahead with this amoral crime against their own people. I never knew how Jesus could forgive the people who crucified Him, so hard to do. He must have been God.

              Hope Unbalanced View is sleeping well. Unfortunately with his sub standard moral thinking, one cannot say it’s the sleep of the just.

  2. Stephen Doyle 2

    Like any vice, the more avaialble it is the more people will do it. See the NZ figures on alcohol abuse, and smoking.
    I have had cause ti go there, and into those pubs and clubs where pokie machines are prevalent. They are very sad places. The casino especially seriously encourage people to form a bond with other gamblers, and create a sense of community to encourage them to gamble more.
    Talk to the Problem Gamblers Association if you want to get a proper handle on the pernicious affects gambling has on our community.

  3. LoveIT 3

    Ooh I know! Lets go check out the Shtandard for some advishe on Pokies! Oh Derpy Ya!

    Here is a bunch of great people who shtand up for the little peeoples!

  4. rosy 4

    Great post. I can’t see anything beneficial about increasing the risk of problem gambling. If the government was really interested in improving the circumstances of children being brought up in deprivation it would be doing everything it could to prevent gambling and other addictions that lead to poverty, domestic violence, fraud, other crime, poor health, unfed kids etc, etc… This would serendipitously do more to balance the government’s books than sacking any number of public servants IMO.

  5. ak 5

    This shit is the gold rush of our times.

    Plug em in and rape your brothers and sisters for three grand a week.

    Skim a flake and buy another ten: use the crumbs for legal whores to suck the muppet council dorks.

    Donate a crust to NACTzi and buy the law.

    Smash the fuckers, brothers and sisters.

    Enough is more than fucking enough.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1

      Instead of using all the energy which would undoubtedly be required to smash the state, people could just refrain from using pokies. That’d show ’em, bruvver.

      Nah, you’re right. That’d be just impossible because of the lack of free will, ‘n’ that. Go back to your plan and start raising a people’s army. Do let me know how you get on.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Pokies are designed by behavioural psychologists and neuroscientists to ROB people of their free will and maximise physiological ADDICTION.

        Go back to your plan and start raising a people’s army. Do let me know how you get on.

        You’ll hear about it.

      • And in your perfect fantasy world, Gormless, people do not smoke, abuse alcohol, commit crimes, beat their wives, molest their children, waste money, and everyone is a multi-millionaire because everyone made exactly the right choices and invested in precisely the right stocks and bonds…

        But this ain’t your perfect world.

        In which case the Do Nothing/Individual’s Will argument of your right wingers is not only unhelpful, but you’re part of the problem.

        You libertarian types don’t believe in addressing social problems because,

        1. We All have to pay for it.

        2. Addressing it means you have to think about it and then take responsibility for it – and right wingers are not know for considering the problems of their fellow human (unless you can make a quid out of it).

        Have I left anything out? No, I don’t think so.

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.2.1

          That’s right, Frank. People need to be saved from themselves. And you are just the man to save them.

          In something quite unrelated, how tall are you? I am collecting data for a personal project.

          • RedLogix 5.1.2.1.1

            That’s quite right Gormless, people must be left to rot… otherwise how else would the invisible hand of Social Darwinism perform it’s magic, purging the useless and damaged from the gene pool?

  6. Interesting little discovery made about the inter-connection between ACC, Sky City, and NZ Super Fund.

    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/acc-skycity-nz-superannuation-what-is-the-connection/

    Which poses the question; is government wanting to expand Sky City to boost profits for ACC and NZ Super Fund?

    • seeker 6.1

      Thanks for pointing out this interconnection Frank . Am going to ask for further info about it from my local MP come Tuesday. Not good that ACC and Superannuitants could profit from vice, even if the PM and Joyce don’t see anything wrong in it judging by their questionable dealings with Skycity and 500 pokie machines.

  7. LynW 7

    Fran O’Sullivan’s view on the issue.

    “The National Government’s proposed sweetheart deal with casino operator SkyCity verges on being immoral and smacks of crony capitalism.
    This is not the sort of message you will hear from the media celebrities who are the beneficiaries of SkyCity’s “Chairman’s Card” or are “Ambassadors” for the casino operator in return for perks said to be worth thousands of dollars each year.

    SkyCity centre deal smacks of cronyism
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10797154

    • Whoa!! If Fran O’Sullivan is saying that – and she’s no Lefty Greenie – you have to wonder how Middle New Zealand is viewing all this? Not well, I think.

      Aside from liberatarian true-believers, I doubt if many can see much benefit to turning NZ into a giant sleaze-pit of gambling, prostitution, tobacco production, etc.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      After my modestly notorious attack on Fran earlier this year over the Crafar farm deal, I’m going to have to nibble on a slice of humble pie…. because she’s heading in the direction of redemption with this column.

      The change I’d suggest is because O’Sullivan actually made the effort to visit the casino and see for herself what is actually going on.

      In a highly unequal society is that the influential power-brokers become increasingly insulated from the consequences of their actions; which is why Key and his minions have fallen head-first into this political shit-pit.

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.1

        In a highly unequal society is that the influential power-brokers become increasingly insulated from the consequences of their actions

        Yes, wealth allows people to live in a secure, highly insulated bubble. I see this in the reviews of every new BMW or Mercedes limo launched. Quiet smooth isolation from the rough and tumble outside world, luxurious travelling accomodations with a minimum of the distracting noise vibration and harshness which affects the moment to moment lives of everyone else.

      • seeker 7.2.2

        @ Redlogix

        “The change I’d suggest is because O’Sullivan actually made the effort to visit the casino and see for herself what is actually going on.”

        I noticed that she had actually gone to investigate for herself and I sent her a message of big congrats. for doing so. Must praise when praise is due.

        Wish I could praise Key and Joyce in like style! Although the only way I could see that happening is if they lost all their money and/or were stripped of their ‘titles”, maybe causing some human feeling, social intelligence and responsibility to infiltrate their thick, unprincipled shells. Talk about the banality of evil – I fear we are witnessing it daily now. Still time to turn back from the abyss John and Stevie boy – just.

      • Well sussed, Red.

        Interestingly, I visited the casino in Auckland once, a few years ago. We were actually heading up to the skytower lookout, and stood on the glass floor. (Bad mistake. I have no head for heights.)

        Anyways…

        I struck my head into the casino out of sheer curiosity. I kinda expected to see Sean Connery in a tux, beating the crap out of some SPECTRE or SMERSH agent on the baccarat table…

        Like Ms O’Sullivan, I saw nothing of the kind. Instead, they were mostly locals (I’m 90% certain), and judging by their attire and poor state of shoes, I came to the conclusion that,

        (a) Sky City had an appalling dress code (if any)

        (b) those folk should not have been there. By the looks of them, they couldn’t afford to be flushing money on the pokies and tables.

        There was nothing glamourous about the patrons that I saw. I came away with a sick feeling in my gut.

        And John Key wants more of that? God, how does he sleep at nights?!?!

  8. Nice post Frank. Plenty to think about there.
    Out of interest, would you remove all gambling business if you had the opportunity?

    – BV

    Good question. In fact, a sensible question.

    The answer is complex and I doubt if anyone can offer a simple, sanitised, one-size-fits-all solution.

    One thing that I would address is the “instant gratification” aspect of gambling. That is probably the #1 problem we have to deal with.

    So Lotto is probably not as big a deal as, say, pokies.

    The first thing I would do is scrap all pokies in pubs and casinos. There is no justificatiion for their existance, aside from Libertarians who dismiss Community in favour of the Individual.

    I doubt very much if tourists come to NZ to play on the pokie machines. They probably don’t even know we have casinos.

    These things are designed only to extract maximum revenue from those who can ill afford it.

    That may sound “wowsrerish” – but I think we’ve given these things a fairly good go, and it’s time to knock’em on the head.

    As for casinos… Perhaps the State shouild buy them up and turn them into childcare centres. Now wouldn’t that meet your demand for productivity?

  9. Balanced View 9

    Interesting. I’ll need time to digest that to see whether I truly agree or not. on the face of it I tend to agree with most of it.
    Slightly off topic, but along the same lines, noting the growing obesity issue in New Zealand, would you look to remove all fast food businesses if that was possible?

  10. Carol 10

    As with a lot that invloves dodgy commercial operations, I’d say, “follow the money”.

    How much of the profits from gambling, especially pokies, should be put back into the communities?

    How much actually goes into trusts, resulting in far less money getting back to the communitity than should?

    How many of the people involved in the trusts, have links with, and/or negotiate with, people in positions of power who make the decisions about allowing pokies?

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