Supermarket lotto ban 'a bit nanny state'

John Key
John Key
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."

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ


I agree with Jones, as incredible as it sounds. Protected government-sponsored selling of the highly child-focused and entertainment based lotto product is very bad for those people who are targeted ie those with little self-control, little money, low income, little education and the young.

It isn't nanny state to stop pushing gambling as an entertainment option suitable for kids.

In Britain, conversely, they alow gambling, but in shops with dull grey brown windows and no flashy ads. Britain isn't the be-all and end-all, but the rationale is right this time. 

I spoke to S Chadwick, former MP, about this in the 2000's, and she repled "the government needs the money.." so Labour hardly has the moral ground, but at least is suggesting something good for a change.

Grandaddy state

Let's dispense of "nanny state" because it's the boys that are playing so if we are going to genderise let's do it properly.

It's a grandaddy state .

Nanny state

Supermarkets are for purchasing food and products not assisting in this country's gambling problems.  Sometimes we need to be a bit nanny state.  We do it with plenty of other things.  It is time the National govt also got serious and banned legal highs.

Cunliffe right on the money

Labour Leader David Cunliffe is quite right to say "It's not for us to tell New Zealanders how to spend their
money" that's because the Labour Party would rather spend it for us long before we actually see any of it.

John Key starring as Mary Poppins

So long as he doesn't then turn around and accuse poor people of spending all their money on gambling ... and then cut off their benefit support I'm fine with this. Of course, he probably will. I suggest he also sits Bernard Madoff at a desk selling sub-prime mortgages at the front of the stock exchange ... or is he too "nanny state" to try it?

When he raises the issue of the "nanny state" it's generally related to removing government policies designed to protect citizens from rapacious business practices. The guy is the Mary Poppins of the business world.

Time to get real

I worked for NZ Lotteries for 7 years developing and marketing their games, and even I can see there is a big difference between the previous promotion and distribution of these products versus their placement at supermarket checkouts.  NZLC products may not have been as harmful as some alternatives based on the way they've been sold in the past, but this new initiative with Countdown has the potential to change this.

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