Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Not very charitable

Over the past few years, the Charities Commission has been cracking down on charities engaging in politics, threatening deregistration if they lobby MPs or advocate policy change, even when it is for the benefit of the community they were established to serve. So why is it letting pokie trusts lobby against the Gambling Harm Reduction Bill?

Its made worse by the fact that these trusts are one of the problems the bill seeks to solve. They redistribute money from poor communities to rich ones (one example I know of: a Lower Hutt based trust gave tried to give money to repave a private driveway in a rich suburb; talk about robbing the poor to give to the rich). The bill would solve that, requiring them to distribute 80% of proceeds back to the community they came from. Eventually, the trusts would be wound up and replaced by appointed local body boards, subject to democratic control (and the LGOIMA). So, the trusts are spending gambling proceeds purely in the interests of their trustees (whose jobs and expense accounts and power) would disappear, rather than to benefit their communities. That doesn't seem very charitable to me.