Hard Issues Are Getting Priority

  • Jack Elder
Internal Affairs

The comprehensive gaming review begun three years ago was not going to provide quick answers to urgent issues confronting the community, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Jack Elder said today.

"So I directed my officials to give priority to the hard issues," he said. "These were the huge, poorly regulated growth in gaming machines and the growing public concerns about a rash of casino applications, which would have been allowed by the 1990 legislation and the lack of community consultation in the process."

Mr Elder said Labour's Internal Affairs spokesman, Trevor Mallard, had demonstrated his lack of understanding about gaming issues.

"I have not shelved the comprehensive review," Mr Elder said. "Instead I chose to tackle the hard issues which anyone with even a superficial knowledge of gaming issues can identify. These are casinos and gaming machines.

"Politics and government is all about priorities and I have given these issues the priority they need.

"Now that Trevor Mallard has stuck his head up over gaming he should come clean and answer the question: 'Is Labour prepared to see the casino and gaming machine issues drift until we have completed the lengthy comprehensive gaming review process?'

"The comprehensive gaming review was always going to be a long-term project, unlikely to produce law changes within the next couple of years.

"We are on track for a Gaming Law Reform Bill to be introduced this year. It will address in particular casino licensing issues and provide a new regulatory regime for gaming machines outside casinos.

"Is the Labour Party saying these are not the priorities? The public has a right to know. Is the Labour Party prepared to see these urgent problems languish in the too-hard basket while we complete the lengthy review process?"