jamie oliver gambles on woolworths

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver made a bit of a splash in New Zealand a few days ago, when it was announced that his proposed restaurant in Auckland would NOT be in SkyCity Casino’s dining precinct because he didn’t want to be associated with gambling.

Sounds great, yes? And on the face of it, it is.

But you then have to wonder why Oliver was so willing to overlook this stance when he recently signed on as the face of Woolworths’ new campaign to “inspire a healthier Australia”.

Woolworths, it must be pointed out, owns and operates somewhere in the vicinity of 12,000 poker machines across Australia. They are the single largest owner of poker machines in the country and make tens of millions of dollars every year from their gambling commitments.

Every Australian deserves… what exactly?

Oliver’s pitch, splashed across the front of The Sunday Age on the weekend, is “Every Australian Deserves To Eat Better.” I doubt that applies to the thousands of people who blow their grocery money on Woolworths’ poker machines every week.

Now, I’m willing to give Oliver the benefit of the doubt. It’s likely that he wasn’t aware of Woolworths’ gambling interests when he signed on.

The question is: what will he do about it now that he DOES know?


1 Response

  1. Kate S. says:

    Woolworths connection with pokie gambling is one of the reasons why I don’t shop there by choice. Unfortunately Coles are also connected with pokie machine ownership and there you have our two major supermarket chains.

    There are other reasons why I would prefer not to shop at either Woolworths or Coles that have to doo with food security, the need to support local producers, the importing of food produced unethically … and so on. I try to use Independents like IGA (there is a great IGA in Hawthorn) but they are some distance away and that is not always possible

    It is very hard to make ideologically sound choices about consumer spending given the connections of various corporations.

    Woolworths should be exposed for its pokie machine connections. Problematic gambling is a public health issue and if Woolworths was genuine about its ‘concern for the health of Australians’. it would relinquish the ownership of pokies.

    Of course, Woolworths won’t do that – which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to influence them and the community, however.

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