Foundation takes advice on funding cut

Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014

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The Problem Gambling Foundation is seeking legal advice over the Government's decision to pull its funding.

Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey said he was exploring options. "Certainly we have taken some very preliminary advice. It's too early to say whether or what action we may or may not take," he said.

The Ministry of Health told the foundation last week it had a better offer, from the Salvation Army, to provide gambling harm minimisation services.

The foundation has been a key provider of gambling addiction and treatment services.

"My first priority at this stage is to staff and to clients, and actually also to find out more information from the ministry about how our bid was evaluated, which will happen later this week," Ramsey said. He is also seeking an explanation from the ministry about why the decision was made.

The foundation opposed expanding the SkyCity casino, exposed pokie machine rorts and promoted Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell's gambling reform bill.

While Ramsey said advocacy work was within the foundation's mandate, Labour and Green MPs said that was the reason its funding was pulled.

The ministry's decision will see the foundation lose up to 77 per cent of its budget and as many as 52 employees from a staff of 63.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has denied the foundation's stance on the SkyCity deal had anything to do with the decision.

"Just because they [the foundation] have problem gambling in their title doesn't mean they become the default provider."

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- Fairfax Media

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