Labour plan to remove Lotto from checkouts 'a bit nanny state'

File photo / Natalie Slade
File photo / Natalie Slade

A Labour Party proposal to remove the sale of Lotto tickets from supermarket checkouts has been described by the Prime Minister as "a bit nanny state".

On Saturday, Labour Party MP Shane Jones told TV3's the Nation that the availability of Lotto tickets at Countdown checkouts was not in society's interests and represented a spread of gambling into the community.

He also called for a review of the Gambling Act, saying $33.5 million jackpots were too high.

"Once the jackpot goes up...what do you buy? Weetbix, orange or a big fat Wednesday?"

Mr Jones today said the party was discussing the future of the Gambling Act with the party's Internal Affairs spokesman Trevor Mallard.

"He is our spokesman on that issue, but gambling is a conscience issue in the Labour party.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said they were considering a policy of capping Lotto jackpots and the availability of tickets sold at checkouts if elected.

"We agree with Shane's analysis that the use of Lotto at checkouts is going to increase the use of gambling and possibly amongst those who can least afford it.

"It's not for us to tell New Zealanders how to spend their money, but we will want to include that issue in a review of gaming policy when we're elected."

Prime Minister John Key said Mr Jones' comments were "a bit nanny state".

"Lotto's been around for a long time, I'm not saying that there's been the odd person that shouldn't be buying something else - a staple in life as opposed to a Lotto ticket - but in the end don't we have to let people get on and run their own lives?

"At the end of the day, people have to take personal responsibility, they have to make their own decisions, there are certainly people that have addictions to gambling - it might be a small percentage but nevertheless they're there and they have some real, serious issues that often cause chaos within their own family. But typically that's more at casinos I think than ultimately it really is in terms of Lotto."

- APNZ

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