Gambling stories 'will sway Nats'

Last updated 05:00 12/07/2013
Opinion poll

What do you think of the bill clearing the SkyCity convention centre?

Good: It will help create jobs

Bad: It will lead to more problem gamblers

Some good, some bad

Don't care

Vote Result

Relevant offers


Trans-Tasman roll call - the best and worst of the 2015 political year Faces of Innocents: Too many children are dying, are we about to break another promise? Prime Minister John Key defends 'green' credentials ahead of major summit Andrew Little to unveil Labour's shadow Cabinet New Zealand and Australia condemn Japan for resuming Southern Ocean whaling Jenny Shipley: Why we need a silver fern flag Children's flag referendum views are being heard by voters in their families 'Our job is not to censor. We're not serving the political elite, business or corporations' Stacey Kirk: Strewth! Join Australia? They're a bunch of flaming galahs! 'I don't want to be prime minister' – Jacinda Ardern

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei believes stories about the impact of problem gambling could yet sway MPs and prevent the passage of the controversial SkyCity bill.

The bill narrowly passed a conscience vote on its first reading by 61 votes to 59 yesterday.

National had said its MPs would vote along party lines regardless and, with ACT and UnitedFuture, had the votes necessary for the bill to advance following impassioned debate from a number of members.

The public will now be allowed to have its say and Ms Turei believes the stories of the harm caused by gambling could change National MPs' minds and defeat the bill.

"I genuinely believe that if MPs are given a chance to vote according to their conscience, and they're given the opportunity to hear the stories from the community, that they will genuinely consider voting against the bill."

Turei also criticised SkyCity boss Nigel Morrison for his comments yesterday that if the bill failed it would take its money elsewhere.

"That kind of threat to MPs or that kind of threat in order to influence MPs' votes is anti-democratic and just plain wrong and goes to show how important it is that we do have strict controls on casinos if this is the way that they behave."

The Green Party would fight to ensure the bill was subject to a conscience vote throughout the process, she said.

Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson said their feedback was that people were opposed to the bill "and I'm sure the Government will be hearing that".

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill was about investment, jobs and growth.

"Parties in favour of jobs for New Zealanders are supporting the bill. Parties that don't care about jobs for New Zealanders are opposing it," he said.

If passed, the bill will ratify a deal between the Government and SkyCity under which SkyCity will fund a $402 million convention centre in exchange for gambling concessions and an extended licence.

Opponents have argued it will cause significant gambling-related harm, while the Government has emphasised its economic benefits, saying it will create hundreds of jobs and pump an extra $90m into the economy every year.

The bill will be back before Parliament on November 14.

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?



Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content