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More robust gambling harm reduction measures needed, support services say



Casino operator SkyCity had over a quarter of a billion dollars wiped off its market value on Monday after the Department of Internal Affairs applied to suspend its gaming licence.

SkyCity is accused of failing to uphold its host responsibilities due to the amount of time one customer was able to spend gambling between August 2017 and February 2021.

The news has prompted organisations like the Problem Gambling Foundation and Asian Family Services to call for more robust gambling harm reduction measures.

It was now up to the Gambling Commission to decide whether or not to suspend the casino giant’s licence after a customer complained about how long they were able to spend gambling over the three-and-a-half year period.

The Department of Internal Affairs said this was in breach of SkyCity’s harm-minimisation obligations, and recommended cancelling its licence for 10 days or so.

Problem Gambling Foundation spokesperson Andree Froude said the department was to be applauded for taking such quick action.

”It sends a clear signal to other gambling providers that they are required by law to provide effective host responsibility and that breaches have consequences,” Froude said.

“So it is good to see, without having all the details, that some action is being taken.”

Froude was also calling for a review of current harm reduction measures.

”New Zealand evidence suggests that people who gamble for three or more hours on casino pokies, have almost four times the risk of being a moderate or problem gambler, than someone who doesn’t gamble on casino pokies.

“So we’ve actually strongly recommended that the timeframe of 5 hours of continuous play be reviewed.”

Asian Family Services agreed.

National director Kelly Feng said more needed to be done to ensure services were accessible to non-English speakers.

”We know many Asians have little or lack of awareness of gambling harm and also the gambling addiction sites… there is very little information they have regarding help seeking behaviour,” Feng said

Gambling rates in the community were high, she said.

”The Asian community experiences 10 times the harm of gambling harm in particular… it is much higher than the general population, like Māori and Pacifica as well, particular for casino type gambling.”

Salvation Army’s director of social services Lynette Hutson believed current measures and processes were fit for purpose.

But she said providers need to ensure staff were trained to identify problem gamblers.

”I think that the training that is available is fairly robust, I mean we have been doing this work for a long time, so we know the kind of triggers and symptoms. It’s actually just a matter of the venues actually enforcing their training,” she said.

Meanwhile, Forsyth Barr head of research Andy Bowley believed the financial impact if the licence was suspended, would be minimal.

”In isolation, the potential financial impact of a suspended licence for ten days is relatively material… so it could be a few percent of their profits in any one year, which isn’t overly big,” he said.

”The bigger question is what else is out there, that the DIA [Department of Internal Affairs] could be investigating.”

But as of shortly after 3pm on Monday, around about $260 million was wiped off SkyCity’s market value.

In a statement, SkyCity said it was committed to maintaining the highest standards of host responsibility best practice, with priority given to minimising the impacts associated with problem gambling.

SkyCity’s Adelaide casino was also under scrutiny by Australian federal and state authorities for alleged breaches of anti-money laundering rules.



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Movement of pilot’s seat a focus of probe into LATAM Boeing flight, report says



The movement of a flight deck seat is a key focus of the probe into a sudden mid-air dive by a LATAM Airlines Boeing 787 plane that left more than 50 people injured, aviation industry publication the Air Current reported on Wednesday.

The plane, which was heading from Sydney to Auckland on Monday, dropped abruptly before stabilising, causing those on board to be thrown about the cabin.

Based on the available information it was understood the seat movement was “pilot induced, not intentionally,” the report said, citing a senior airline safety official.

“The seat movement caused the nose down” angle of the aircraft, the publication said, citing another anonymous source who added the possibility of an electrical short was also under review.

Boeing is expected to release a message to 787 operators regarding the incident, the Air Current reported, in a sign a fleet-wide issue could be involved though it said the specific topic was not known to the publication.

Boeing declined to comment on the report, instead referring Reuters to the investigating agencies.

Chile’s aviation regulator, which is leading the probe given it involves a Chilean airline flying in international airspace, said the investigation “just got underway” and its investigators had arrived in New Zealand.

LATAM said it “continues to work in coordination with the authorities to support the investigation” and said it was not appropriate to comment on speculation that has circulated.

LATAM is based in Chile and the flight, which had 263 passengers and nine crew members, was due to continue on to Santiago after stopping in Auckland.

The cause of the flight’s apparent sudden change in trajectory has not yet been explained. Safety experts say most airplane accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors that need to be thoroughly investigated.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission said on Tuesday it was seizing the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder of the flight, which would provide information about the conversations between the pilots and the plane’s movement.

– This story was first published by Reuters

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Household costs forecast to rise $70 a week on average next year – ASB report



Household costs are expected to rise $70 a week on average next year as high interest rates and prices keep the pressure on budgets, an ASB Bank report estimates.

The increase was a reflection of slowing inflation compared to the $115 higher costs expected for this year, and about half the increase at the height of the pandemic.

Senior economist Mark Smith said the increase would be a stretch for many households, but there had been a surprising resilience among consumers.

“The inflation outlook remains inherently uncertain, but we expect the pace of cost increases to progressively slow, both in absolute terms and relative to household incomes.”

Inflation slowed to 5.6 percent in the three months ended September from a peak of 7.4 percent the year before, and the Reserve Bank has forecast it to fall back within its 1-3 percent target band by the end of next year.

Smith said those who had taken out mortgages in recent years and were now faced with renewing at higher rates would feel the squeeze on their finances the most, which would be added to by rising costs of services such as rates and insurance.

“Cost movements will be uneven, with slowing increases for consumer goods, but for still chunky rises in debt servicing and other consumer services.”

Savings and buffers

Smith said households had fared better than expected because of savings and buffers built up in the pandemic.

“Kiwi households have built up a circa $30b nest egg of savings since the Covid-19 pandemic. The amount of saving is being eroded as growth in household expenditures has outpaced income growth. Still, households in aggregate are still saving.”

However, an easing labour market would add further pressure to some households.

Smith said the concern for the Reserve Bank would be if consumers believed they were past the worst of the hard times, and felt confident enough to pick up their spending.

Ongoing consumer restraint and increased consumer resistance to paying higher prices are key pre-requisites to cooling domestically generated inflation.

Hence the tough talk by the RBNZ and the warning that the OCR [official cash rate] may have to go up if inflation fails to sufficiently cool.”


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New Zealand Indian Central Association Youth Conference Celebrates Remarkable Success



The New Zealand Indian Central Association Inc. (NZICA) is delighted to announce the resounding
success of its highly anticipated Youth Conference held at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, Auckland on
Saturday, 25 November 2023. The conference featured distinguished speakers, prominent guests,
and enthusiastic participants from all over New Zealand making it a remarkable and insightful

The Youth Conference aimed to address crucial issues related to the well-being of young individuals
in the New Zealand Indian community. It provided a platform for thought-provoking discussions,
knowledge sharing and networking opportunities for the youth.

Renowned speakers who graced the conference with their wisdom and insights included Simran
Kaur, Jazz Thornton, IOPNZ (Arrun Soma, Ajay Chhibber, Moushumi Das). Their thought-provoking
talks and engaging discussions left a profound impact on the participants, empowering them with
valuable insights and knowledge.

The outstanding success of this event would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of
the NZICA Youth Committee Chairman Shashi Patel and his highly energetic and enthusiastic team.
Their commitment to ensuring the success of the conference was evident in every aspect of the
event, from planning to execution.

The presence of esteemed NZICA Life Members, Harshad K Patel and Bhikhu Bhana added prestige
and significance to the occasion. Life Members guidance and support have been instrumental in
shaping the NZICA’s journey, and their attendance at the conference was truly appreciated.
The event was also graced by the presence of the NZICA Business Committee Chairman Dipak Bhana,
Navtej Randhawa from National Party and Suneel Kuncha from New Zealand Telugu Association,
who showed their support for the youth and their dedication to promoting Youth well-being.

NZICA would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to all the participants who attended the
conference and actively contributed to the discussions. The event’s success was a testament to the
enthusiasm and commitment of the Youth within the New Zealand Indian community.

Special thanks goes to the Auckland Indian Association for their warm hospitality and for providing
the ideal venue for this significant gathering.

Last but not least, NZICA would like to express its sincere appreciation to the generous sponsors who
provided crucial financial support, making the Youth Conference possible. Their commitment to the
community’s well-being is truly commendable, and their financial contribution is deeply valued.
NZICA remains committed to fostering the well-being and growth of the New Zealand Indian
community, especially its Youth and Women. The resounding success of the Youth Conference is a
testament to the organisation’ dedication to this noble cause

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