New Zealand Rugby Union boss Steve Tew has attacked proposed gambling reform, saying they would strip community sports of vital funding.
Speaking before the Commerce Select Committee this morning, Mr Tew said the proposed reforms risked the viability of community rugby with questionable benefits in combating problem gambling.
"We do not support the idea of moving to local authorities and local money,” he said.
The committee is hearing submissions on the The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill, which would make local government responsible for distributing pokie trust funds and give them power to remove or reduce pokie machines.
Money gambled in a community would also have to be spent in that community and the amount donated would jump by 80 per cent.
The bill has been opposed by many charities who rely heavily on pokie trust for funding and claim local government would politicise grant distribution.
Tew said 22 per cent of the funding for provincial rugby unions came from pokie trusts and the changes could drastically reduce money available.
"Whether we like it or not that (community activities) is largely funded by gaming."
Tawa Rugby Club chairman David Banks told the committee pokie trusts accounted for up to 40 per cent of his club's funding.
"If you were to take away 20 per cent of our funding from the trust I would say our club would be insolvent in one to two years," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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