As Executive Assistant to then Minister of Overseas Trade and Marketing, Tourism, Sport and Recreation, and Publicity, Rt. Hon Mike Moore, from October 1985, Graeme’s first task, according to a note left by the Minister was to “Get lotto in”.
Attempts to introduce Lotto had failed over the past more than 20 years, falling victim to other gambling interests and the churches.
Only 36% of polled Kiwis backed Lotto in October 1985. Graeme lifted this support to 75% by December that year, with a media information campaign, which also focused on lottery fund beneficiaries. Lotto would deliver $120 million a year for distribution. This compared with just $20 million from the Golden Kiwi Lottery.
Potential beneficiaries got the message, along with opposing churches who received lottery funds and the racing industry unsuccessfully tendered to use its large computer capacity to run the game.
The Business Difference
Law allowing for Lotto was passed by a free vote of Parliament in 1987. Since that time community groups and organisations have benefitted with grants totaling more than $3 billion and prize money worth $XY Billion has been won by lucky punters.