The Government today reaffirmed its love affair with casinos claiming the pokies-for-convention centre deal with SkyCity is a jobs winner despite evidence jobs will be sucked out of retail and tourism if the casino's pokies business expands, the Green Party said today.
"The Green Party has laid out a plan for job creation, and a new convention centre could be a great thing for Auckland," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
"But we don't believe a centre should be built on a backroom deal between the casino and the Government which has agreed to change the law so that SkyCity can expand its pokies business.
"Casinos are engines of crime. Jobs based on misery and crime should not be the basis of the Government's jobs plan.
"In addition, research from Australia shows expanding pokies business is likely to lead to the shedding of jobs in the more job-intensive retail industry.
"Casinos make profit off the misery of problem gambling and the current law prevents their growth to protect us from more harm. The Government wants to undo those protections.
"I have a Bill supported by almost half of Parliament, which would ensure that if casinos knowingly benefit from significant crime, they would have to give the money back to victims.
"Labour, the Maori Party, Mana and New Zealand First have all said they'll support it to select committee, but National, and ACT MP John Banks, who once called casinos 'wideboys' who had 'sucked, hung, drawn and quartered' the people of this country, will vote it down.
"It remains to be seen if Peter Dunne will support it to select committee," Mrs Turei said.