Pokie law change threatens sports funding

By Kate Shuttleworth

Labour MP David Cunliffe said some of the poorest communities in Auckland and New Zealand were contributing to funding first-class facilities in Remuera. Photo / Duncan Brown
Labour MP David Cunliffe said some of the poorest communities in Auckland and New Zealand were contributing to funding first-class facilities in Remuera. Photo / Duncan Brown

A sports club in upmarket Remuera that has received millions of dollars in pokie machines proceeds says it will suffer if changes are made to gambling laws because there are only nine gaming machines in the suburb.

College Rifles Rugby Club in Remuera has annual running costs of $350,000 funded through membership, fundraising and leases. It has received more than $1 million from "pokie trusts" in the past three years to help fund sports fields, a netball and tennis court, sports pavilion and cafe.

The club is also considering how to fund a learn-to-swim centre with an estimated cost of $1.5 million.

College Rifles Rugby Club life member and general manager Derek Rope told the Commerce Select Committee today that if Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell's Gambling Amendment Bill goes ahead its funding source will dry up.

Mr Flavell wants 80 per cent of proceeds to go back to the community it comes from.
Labour MP David Cunliffe said some of the poorest communities in Auckland and New Zealand, over-represented in gambling statistics, were contributing to funding first-class facilities in Remuera.

"Why should poor people in Mangere be supplying first class facilities for Remuera?" he asked.

Mr Rope, who opposes the bill, said the club's facilities were provided to a wider community and only 25 per cent of its members lived locally.

"We would not survive without pokie machine money," he said.

Club projects that got gaming funding

- Sports field $500,000
- Netball court/tennis court - $600,000
- Sports pavilion, cafe and building - $550,000
- Scrum machine area - $50,000

College Rifles Rugby Club received gaming machine proceeds from Lions Foundation Trillion Trust, Infinity, Nautilus Trust, Four Winds Foundation, Pelorus Trust, Pub Charity, Grassroots Trust and New Zealand Community Trust.

- APNZ

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