About time, I say. The Speaker in Parliament has arrived at the conclusion that the vote re legislation around the deal proposed by the Prime Minister for the funding of the Auckland Casino be put to a ‘conscience vote.’ There has been a great deal of debate about this issue.
While some see the huge conference centre as being central to the enhancement of opportunities for Auckland and New Zealand in general, along with the creation of jobs, both in the construction phase and the running of the centre after the opening, others see a wider cost to the community.
Sure, we may get a brand spanking new centre but at what cost? Do we really need more pokie machines and gaming tables? Do we really want to increase the social pressures on the people of New Zealand, because in the final analysis, that is who will be paying for the extra social services needed as a result of increased gambling? As far as I can see, the only ‘gainers’ are not the ‘gamers,’ but the people who make the profits out of the presence of these gambling palaces. We all know that things are geared so that there are always more losers than winners.
Why should we, the public pay for the damage that problem gamblers inflict on themselves and others. It is all too easy to say that it is a ‘choice,’ made by the gambler and that if they get hooked then that is a natural consequence. Talking a broader view would indicate that the collateral damage is paid by us all. Broken families cost us all money. Social dysfunction is something we all reap the costs for.
I say to the politicians---take a hard look at this proposal and find another way to finance this conference centre. Yes, we will all pay for that too, but at least we will have control from the start as to its use, and any benefits will accrue to the city and New Zealand. It may mean waiting a bit longer. In this case, delaying is good; unlike the public transport issues that need addressing here and now!
Dig deep into your emotions and find out the real costs of bringing in yet more machines to our city! Hopefully without the shackles of ‘party machines’ to ramp up support for this proposal, maybe just once we will get a decision that does not hurt the people who can least afford to ‘have a free choice,’