It was announced in the NZ Herald on Monday (19/03/14) that The Problem Gambling Foundation [“PGF”], will take the Ministry of Health to court to try to overturn a decision the ministry recently made, under which PGF will lose most of its funding (apart from its Asian Family Services), in favour of the Salvation Army. PGF claim, with support from Labour Party and Green Party spokespersons (see below), that there are big questions yet to be answered over the alleged flawed process behind that decision, one which could leave many of its 63 employed staff out of a job. The foundation has been the key provider of addiction and treatment services for gambling problems for about 20 years and has dealt with 25,000 people in that time.
The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc points out that what the media needs to investigate more fully are the implications of the fact that (1) The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand [“PGF”] is a registered charity (registered on 1 May 2008 – Reg. No. CC23709) – and as such cannot be involved in political advocacy – which it has been, and (2) it received $4.7 million in tax-payer fund income in 2013 ($4.6 m in 2012) , via the Ministry of Health budget, the very Ministry it intends to take Court action against via an expensive High Court judicial review. Furthermore, the media has not highlighted the fact that PGF does not have anything in its constitution authorising its trustees/officers to allow the foundation to be involved in litigation involving tax-payer sourced money (via Ministry of Health funding) and/or from donors who can claim tax rebates (because PGF is a registered charity). [Read more…]