NZ Green Party
Supporting our communities

Russel and Sue Bradford announced the Greens’ Community and Voluntary Sector Policy yesterday. As Toad noted at g.blog, the headline announcement was getting pokies out of our pubs:

This recognises that it is not only vulnerable individuals, but much of the community and voluntary sector itself, who have inadvertently become addicted to gaming machines and the revenue provided by them.

The policy would establish a $150m fund to compensate community organisations for the loss of “pokie trust” grant revenue from abolishing pub pokies. The level of the fund would diminish over a period of time, as community groups take initiatives to gain access to alternative sources of funding.

But the rest of the policy is a very detailed recognition of the importance volunteers and community groups play in our communities. Take for instance the community economic development measures which will create and maintain an enabling environment for community banks and credit unions, support the development of local currency and time banking schemes, support local community development and transition town initiatives aimed at dealing with the impacts of climate change and peak oil and support the maintenance and development of local markets including crafts and farmers’ markets.

A community banking network would help keep money circulating locally and help overcome problems that local groups and organisations have with access to capital, reinvests profits locally supporting community activities and voluntary organizations; as well as providing innovative micro finance for small business.

38 thoughts on “Supporting our communities

  1. This should keep Gerrit, BluePeter etc happy. The big ticket items are costed. $150m to get the pokies out of pubs while ensuring community groups don’t suffer from lost revenue. $20m extra to the Community Organisations Grants Scheme.

    All good stuff.

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  2. Yet again, the radical socialism of the greens is going to rebound badly. Everyone knows that they have as much chance of implementing these policies of theirs as I do of a party for 500 for my next birthday. The party should, for now, stick to formulating well thought out policies that are focused on green issues, so that we know what they will really do for the country, and Gaia, if they are a real influence in the next government. All this Marxist extreme left policy does is prove that it wants to control my entire life, and I don’t want or need that thank you!

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  3. What’s radical or socialist about getting the pokies out of pubs, Strings? The Greens are not even talking about banning them – you would still be able to go to a pub or a club if you really want to gamble on them – just reducing their accessibility, and the evidence is that most problem gambling occurs on the ones in pubs.

    The rest of the initiatives are about empowering communities, not controling them.

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  4. Dont like this at all.

    I’m involved in amateur theatrics, and our and many other similar organisations benefit from pokie machine funds. The pokie machine trusts are a good source of funding for such organisations as it is the sort of thing most clubs can manage; you fill in some forms, and if the trustees board see fit you may get your sought after funding.

    What you are suggesting as an alternative is in effect sponsorship. That means that all us little clubs need to understand and become proficient at fund raising. That is such a large mountain to climb, and the combined sponsorship funds avaialable so limited, that what you are suggesting will be the death knell of many small clubs to whom pokie machine funds are the difference between survival and failure.

    If you want to do something helpful then remove the provisions of the pokie machine act that allows distributed funds to be used for stake money on other gamblin events, most noticably horse racing.

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  5. Good work, nice to see transition towns getting an explicit mention too. Great to see someone’s got their eye on the ball.

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  6. Toad

    How about you post a list of what we will be allowed to do if the unthinkable ever happens and you become the govt, it would be a damn sight easier than posting a long list of things you plan to outlaw.
    I will even start the list for you….

    1. Free drugs for all.
    2. ……

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  7. dbuckley said: The pokie machine trusts are a good source of funding for such organisations as it is the sort of thing most clubs can manage; you fill in some forms, and if the trustees board see fit you may get your sought after funding.

    Too true, dbuckley, and the Greens understand the problem. Many community groups have become just as addicted to pokies through the funding they provide as the problem gamblers who play on the machines are.

    That is why the Greens would gradually phase out pub pokies, initially through allowing Territorial Local Authorities to progressively reduce the number of pokie mackines in their areas, rather than just ban them outright.

    It is also the reason the Greens would set up a $150m fund to replace the pokie funding that community organisations are currently dependent upon. It would operate much like Smokefree did when tobacco company sponsorship was prohibited.

    It wouldn’t be any different for the community organisations than applying to the pokie trusts for money is at the moment. No need for a high level of fundraising expertise or effort to access it. You would just fill in some forms and your application would be considered on its merits, just as it is (meant to be) with the pokie trusts now. And none of the fund would go to horse racing stakes, as pokie money does now, I am sure.

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  8. What a great idea Frog. The vampires who run the pokies have ensured that there are a cohort of otherwise reasonable people who depend on taking money from the suffering of gamblers to run their organisations – most of which are highly worthwhile and contribute to society in meaningful ways.

    So, replacing their income with a fund is a brilliant idea. I hope you’re in Government to make this happen.

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  9. Toad: The idea of a fund is fine. But then you add “the level of the fund would diminish over a period of time, as community groups take initiatives to gain access to alternative sources of funding”

    So. over a few years, the money vanishes. Meaning community groups everywhere can no longer afford to function….

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  10. Toad

    Can you explain something for me please.

    You support the removal of pokies because some people can get addicted to them yet you support the use of marijuana which is also addictive.

    Do you not see the hypocrisy in this stance?

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  11. Lol, Lotto is probally the most inteligent form of taxation ever invented.
    the state makes windfall profits that dont count as tax which it then gives to community groups which work to enrich the community but it doesint count as funds going out and the state still gets all the credit whilst fooling the ignorant little people who tink they are going to strike it rich!

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  12. Toad I’m confused

    “The Greens are not even talking about banning them – you would still be able to go to a pub or a club if you really want to gamble on them”

    Eh? Then why raise $150m (that’s another $75 per year off me I think) to get the pokies out of pubs.

    Yet again you are taking the choice of harmless entertainment for the many to deal with the problem of the few – if that’s not socialism what is?

    I can only suppose that you will be closing down Lotto as well (anecdotely there are more people ‘addicted’ to lotto than pokies) and so will need to replace the $250 million that distributes to community activities as well – another $125 out of my pocket. Then if we add the extra workers needed to administer and enforce all this activity to save a few addicts (say just $50 million), we end up with me paying about an additional @212 per year for this policy. For which I receive no benefit, because the addicts will use the TAB, or something, to satisfy their craving. Or should we ban all gambling?

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  13. Ah, BB, as I’ve just posted on Kiwiblog in response to someone else, the Greens do not “support the use of marijuana”.

    Green Drug Law Reform policy:

    A drug-free lifestyle is the healthiest;

    There are adverse health, social and economic consequences from the use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs for both individuals and society

    So the Greens support it being decriminalised for personal use, but certainly don’t want it sold in every corner dairy like tobacco is.

    Similarly with pokies. There is little harm in the occasional flutter, just as there is little harm in the occasional dak, but having pokies in every pub encourages addiction. So we’d like to see them restricted to casinos and clubs, which are generally much better at managing problem gambling than pubs are.

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  14. >>This should keep Gerrit, BluePeter etc happy.

    The fund diminishes over a period of time.

    Yeah, I can really see community groups buying into that (/sarcasm)
    “We won’t take your funding away now, we’ll take it away over the following two years! Harrah!”.

    >>having pokies in every pub encourages addiction

    Having drink in every pub encourages addiction ;)

    The pokies always attract losers. Remove them, and they’ll just piSS their money away on something else. Just think of it as a tax on morons.

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  15. It’s all very fine to say that people who become addicted to pokie machines are idiots, and there may be some truth to it. But it’s still immoral to take advantage of them by trying to tempt them with machines that are designed to be highly addictive. Seriously, they keep replacing pokie machines with new designs because they’ve found ways to make them even more addictive.

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  16. BluePeter said: We won’t take your funding away now, we’ll take it away over the following two years! Harrah!?

    The fund would only diminish to the extent that community groups developed the capacity to be no longer reliant upon it. A lot of the rest of the policy is about supporting and developing capacity in the community and voluntary sector. There would not be some sort of arbitrary sinking lid that denies groups funding if they don’t have the capacity to otherwise fundraise.

    The pokies always attract losers… Just think of it as a tax on morons.

    I actually know some very intelligent gambling addicts, just as I know some very intelligent junkies and alcoholics. Addiction is not a matter of intelligence. It is an illness. Recall Keith Edwards, the law firm principal who was jailed for defrauding his firm’s trust account of millions of dollars to feed his gambling addiction. You can’t say someone with the qualifications and expertise to run a law firm is moron, but his addiction completely clouded his judgment to the extent that he committed one of New Zealand’s larger crimes of financial dishonesty.

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  17. Frog

    is this really correct?

    >
    >>Take for instance the community economic development measures which will create and maintain an enabling environment for community banks and credit unions, support the development of local currency and time banking schemes, support local community development and transition town initiatives aimed at dealing with the impacts of climate change and peak oil and support the maintenance and development of local markets including crafts and farmers’ markets.
    ?

    Given the strife we already have, as a small nation, trying to maintain a reasonably stable currency, are the Green Party really advocating the creation of local community currencies?

    If it is, has the Party costed it?

    I am shocked, and totally stunned, that people who are, on the whole, quite intelligent would come up with such a policy if it is accurately quoted. The cost of administration, as well as the cost of a trading ability between communities, would surely be prohibitive! It would lead to a situation where local communities, however they are defined, would have to become insular and their currency become a form of barter. At that point, the standard of living would revert to pre-industrial revolution levels!

    This may reduce pollution and create sustainable living. However, I doubt that most people would be happy with long-drops and home-spun cloth. I think the population would be down to a nice sustainable 200-250,000 if such a policy were ever to be implemented.

    Tell me (please) that it’s a typo!

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  18. Oh, I missed this one, BluePeter: Having drink in every pub encourages addiction

    I don’t agree. Most alcoholics drink at home, because they drink so much they can’t afford pub prices. I think the far bigger problem is the availability of alcohol through supermarkets, dairies, off-licences etc – both the density of the outlets and the extensive hours that many are open.

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  19. I’m talking about pokies. Pokies attract morons. Go look in any pokie hall. Morons. If the pokie machine wasn’t there, the morons would just throw their money away on something equally stupid. At least with pokies, the funds are going to community groups.

    As for addiction (to other pursuits) – yes, of course it is real. But most people aren’t addicts.

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  20. “So we’d like to see them restricted to casinos and clubs, which are generally much better at managing problem gambling than pubs are.”

    lol, you can say that with a straight face? well I suppose we are not as bad as las vegas yet…

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  21. Blue Peter

    “I’m talking about pokies. Pokies attract morons. Go look in any pokie hall. Morons.”

    Yep…Labour voters, each and every one of them.

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  22. Toad

    Intelligent people do not smoke pot.

    Phul also votes Green, don’t you think that kinda ruins your argument?

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  23. oh come on who comes up with all this green policy.
    You guys have a tank full of manatees who choose policy ideas for you don’t you Toad.

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  24. Living in a Town that just has begun it’s transition town project I’m very happy to hear that the green party encourages this sort of sustainable development.

    For people who want to know more about this visit:

    http://transitiontowns.org/Main/HomePage

    The local currency propagated here does not infringe upon the National currency but adds value to the local community. It stimulates people to source and produce their produce locally and that stimulates local economies.

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  25. Strings Says:
    August 8th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    > It would lead to a situation where local communities, however they are defined, would have to become insular and their currency become a form of barter.

    I think local currencies are actually supposed to be non-convertible, so you cannot trade them for other currencies. And they would not replace the national currency – they would just be introduced in addition to it to provide a bit of additional economic activity at times of economic downturn.

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  26. Looks like gblog is an attempt to knobble decent? You have to be a paid up member of the Green Party? and your not allowed to say anything to give offence?….. so your not allowed to link to New Zeal?

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  27. People who are not members of the Green Party can still comment at g.blog – just not author posts. After all, it is a Green Party blog. Can you imagine the shambles it would become if some of our less enlightened contributors (dadforjustice, big bro spring to mind) were able to author on it.

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  28. On frogblog only frog and the Green Party MPs can author posts. On g.blog any party member can – so you won’t necessarily get the official party line.

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  29. The fish Trevor Louden has on his line is the ideology of groups he writes about. An analogy would be the difference between a Muslim and Muslim fundamentalist. The environmental movement is a convenient cover for groups with agendas only a small minority support. The problem the Green Party has is that it is stacked and doesn’t have clear enough principles to operate by. The Charter is (conveniently) obtuse. Frogblog is mostly a defence of the fait accompli.

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  30. jh, my take on Trevor Louden is that he is an obsessive paranoid who sees a communist under every bed, despite the total rejection of communism by those such as Keith Locke whom many years ago gave it tacit support.

    In the world according to Trevor, no-one ever thinks about issues and changes their politics – Trevor dredges up quotes from 20 or 30 years ago and treats them as though they are a person’s beliefs today.

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  31. Actually blogs produce some good discussion and ideas but they are wasted. How about a team of volunteer moderators who do a summary of points of views on the major issues? (just an idea).

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  32. Good point Toad perhaps the problem is that we need to clarify the underlying ideas whereas in our representative system someone gets into an influencial position and we think that it is all about who is saying it.
    I do think though that there are major differences as demonstrated recenlty by speeches of supporters of the Urewera 17 (as an example). John Minto could easily replace 3 Green MP’s.

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