Government reaches deal on machine reforms


Societies and trusts operating gambling machines will have distribute at least 40 percent of proceeds to community organizations, up from 37 percent, under a new government reform plan. The proportion would later rise to between 43 and 45 percent. Operators in good standing would be able to get two-year or three-year license extensions rather than having to renew annually, but the Department of Internal Affairs would be able to cancel gaming licences more easily. Maori Party legislator Te Ururoa Flavell, the original sponsor of the gambling reform bill, had sought to stop race track operators from using gambling machine proceeds for prize stakes but the ruling National Party opposed this measure and it was dropped. However, Flavell’s compromises with the National Party, which included lowering the threshold for community funding from a proposed 80 percent, led the Labour and Greens parties to drop support.