A proposed amendment to the Gambling Act could affect a controversial SkyCity plan to add more pokie machines to the casino in Auckland.
The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment bill, which gets its first reading in Parliament today, proposes to give the public more power to reduce pokies in communities, Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell told TV ONE's Breakfast today.
"The idea would be that the local authority would be able to make decisions based on community feedback, about definite reduction of pokie machines in suburbs and areas in jurisdiction," he said.
Flavell said the amendment could affect the proposed expansion of SkyCity to add several hundred more cashless gambling machines to the casino.
"The authority would allow for the council, on the back of community support, to make a stand on that," he said.
The bill also seeks to ensure community funding made through pokie machines goes back into the same community.
"We've found that money made from pokie machines, for example, in Kawerau, may well be distributed in Balclutha.
"While we are trying to stay away from gambling absolutely, it seems appropriate that if you get money out of a particular community, then we say 80% of that money should go back into that community."
Flavell said in a statement last month some National Party members had given the bill support.
"It was reassuring to hear National members, Michael Woodhouse and Todd McClay, along with Labour's Ruth Dyson, speaking about the need for initiatives to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling."
While support from either Act or United Future would see the bill cross the line, Flavell said it would be far better to have National's support.
"At the end of the day they have the leverage to be able to make the changes and that's what I'm aiming for."
Flavell said the Prime Minister agreed to work on issues that may arise from the discussion about the bill.