PGF handed reprieve in New Zealand

PGF handed reprieve in New Zealand

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
A court will decide on the future of NZ's problem gambling services next year

New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) has retained a series of Ministry of Health contracts as both parties await a court decision on its future.

The organisation, which provides clinical and public health services related to gambling in New Zealand, had its contracts cancelled in March 2014, with the government opting to use the Salvation Army instead.

However, the PGF appealed the decision and has now had its contracts extended for a further year as interested parties await a judgement from the High Court.

“The Ministry has advised us that the decision to extend current contracts has been made due to the continued uncertainty of the outcome and date of the High Court judgment,”  PGF chief executive Graeme Ramsey said.

“This is good news for PGF. It provides certainty for our staff and clients after a long period of uncertainty and anxiety.”

PGF is the largest single treatment provider for problem gambling in Australasia with 63 staff, 13 branch offices and 14 satellite offices throughout New Zealand. It offers free counselling services for both gamblers and others affected by gambling and a Public Health team works on problem gambling issues in the community using a health promotion approach.

The Ministry of Health’s decision in March 2014 would remove all of PGF’s contracts other than its services to the Asian community as well as removing 70 per cent of PGF funding.

The New Zealand Herald suggests the decision was linked to the PGF’s outspoken campaign against expansion of the gambling industry, including a controversial Government deal giving Sky City Casino an extra 230 pokie machines for 30 years in exchange for building a new convention centre.

PGF spokesman Andre Froude last month told TotallyGaming.com that Sky City was acting irresponsibly in offering free-to-play online slots games.

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