NZ Herald 22 March 2014
The Salvation Army says it was unaware it would be taking over as the lead agency for gambling addiction services after the Ministry of Health controversially cut funding to the Problem Gambling Foundation.
The foundation’s failure to win a tender after 20 years as the main provider prompted claims by Opposition parties that it was being punished for publicly criticising the National Government’s pokies-for-convention centre deal with SkyCity casino.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne strongly rejected that claim, saying that the funding decision was the result of a robust, independent review which had looked to improve the sector’s value for money.
The Salvation Army – which also publicly opposed the National-SkyCity deal – would take over as the main provider for addiction services because it was believed to be able to make nearly $5 million in funding go further.
National manager of addictions Captain Gerry Walker said he had not yet been shown a contract and “did not know what the situation is”.