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I would like to introduce Corbin Whanga who is currently on a student placement at Hapai Te Hauora. Corbin has a Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Auckland and wants to continue his education by pursuing a post-graduate study going forward.

So far, Corbin has tackled some exciting roles and tasks, like working in the recent Fizz Free Whanau 2018 campaign and making his very first Select Committee oral submission for the upcoming Racing Amendment Bill.

Can you explain a little more about the Racing Amendment Bill?

Sure can, the bill sought to amend provisions from the Racing Act 2003. With the primary intent aimed at improving the competitiveness of the New Zealand Racing Board by increasing levies on international operators and restructuring funding streams for Board beneficiaries.

What are your views on the Racing Amendment Bill?

Overall, I found the Bill to be neutral regarding its influence on Māori Public Health and gambling harm. However, I was able to use the submission opportunity to identify some weaknesses in response to the needs of Māori regarding the Racing Act 2003 that had not been considered. I was then able to recommend more gambling harm prevention measures for future consideration, based on those identified weaknesses. I included a call for greater alignment between the New Zealand Racing Board’s harm prevention policy and the Ministry of Health’s Gambling harm prevention strategy.

How do you think your oral submission to the select committee went?

It was daunting to start with, as I was delivering my oral submission via the phone. Creating a more challenging aspect of how do I measure the committee's reactions to my presentation when I couldn't see them. The committee, however, was very verbal and gave me a good indication that the critical points of my submission made some sense and would be considered going forward.

Now that you have finished how do you feel?

It was my first out-of-school experience reviewing policy and presenting a submission. I was happy to be given the opportunity, and with my keen personal interest in the policy process, it was a fantastic exercise to grow my public health skills and build confidence within a real work environment. I have to admit, I was nervous having to make my first oral submission to the select committee but what I did find was the submission process was much more straightforward and simple than I had anticipated. It's an important step in my professional development, I have one submission under my belt, and I am ready to do another. What is yet to be realised is whether my submission influenced, the Racing Amendment Bill, in which I am watching and waiting to see the results.

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