Dunne Refutes Entirely Opposition claims on Problem Gambling
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has refuted entirely claims by the opposition that Problem Gambling Foundation
funding is being cut due to political pressure.
“The Ministry of Health clearly signalled in 2012 that it would go to the market for the provision of gambling harm
minimisation services during its public consultation on this issue, and this is the outcome of that process”, says Mr
“This review had been on the cards for some years prior to this, as the development of the sector has to a large extent
been undertaken in an ad hoc manner, with duplication of services from national providers simply not achieving best
value for money that clients of services are entitled to expect.”
The process to retender the contracts for these services was an open contestable tender.
The evaluation panel deciding on the tender comprised six members: three internal Ministry staff and three external
evaluators from the Department of Internal Affairs, the Health Promotion Agency and a Pacific health consultant.
“The Ministry of Health has been particularly mindful to keep the process clearly separate from any perception of
political interference. This extended to commissioning an independent review by Pricewaterhouse on its proposed
decisions and I congratulate them on the rigorous commitment to probity they have shown in following this tender process
as it went beyond the requirements of best practice”.
“The outcome is that services are more streamlined and will achieve increased service provision from government funding
in the gambling harm minimisation area. The Problem Gambling Foundation will continue to be contracted to provide
specialist services, if negotiations with them are successful, says Mr Dunne.
It is proposed that the major national provider will be the Salvation Army’s Oasis service, which already provides
gambling harm and other addiction and social services across the country.
“I am aware that the Salvation Army has been critical of the government in certain areas over the years, including the
SkyCity convention centre, but I see no reason why this should prevent them from being contracted to provide the
excellent services that they do.
“For Labour and the Greens to say that the Problem Gambling Foundation’s funding has been cut because of its opposition
to particular government policies is patent nonsense. It was not until that process was completed that I was advised of
“Just because they have Problem Gambling in their title, doesn’t mean they become a default provider, and I commend the
Ministry for its rigorous process and decision making which will ultimately benefit those New Zealanders who may who
experience negative outcomes from their, or others, gambling activities”, says Mr Dunne.