22 Mar 2014

Problem gambling decision questioned

8:46 pm on 22 March 2014

A South Auckland community leader says it's a shame that cost appears to be dictating who should provide help for people with gambling problems.

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Photo: 123RF

The Problem Gambling Foundation has lost the majority of its funding. The Ministry of Health has told it there is a better offer for the clinical and public health services it provides.

Reverend Mua Strickson Pua said the foundation had done amazing work with Pasifika people in South Auckland and already has established networks to help those with gambling problems.

"The service is already established, the relationships are already there, the network's already there, so why would you replace it, except for the rationale that you can get it cheaper?"

The Salvation Army is the proposed new provider. It has also been providing gambling help for more than a decade. It admits it will need to employ far more than the 18 full-timers it currently has to do the work.

Reverand Mua Strickson Pua said it would be good if both community organisations could work together to provide the service.