An odd article on the Problem Gambling Foundation

A few days after my post on the Problem Gambling Foundation funding saga, this new story appeared in the NZ Herald, which I’ve only just noticed. The story states that:

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.

And that the Salvation Army’s national manager of addictions, Captain Gerry Walker, said:

His organisation had applied for its usual amount of funding for gambling addiction services – between $1 million and $2 million.

Instead, the ministry decided that it would take over as the national provider.

That seems fundamentally at odds with what Captain Walker told Checkpoint on 20 March 2014, when he told Mary Wilson that the Salvation Army had indeed applied for more than its usual funding. However, he was not prepared to reveal to Ms Wilson what additional funding had been sought, as it was commercially sensitive and no contract had yet been provided by the Ministry of Health.

I wonder if Isaac Davison, the Herald reporter, has misunderstood Captain Walker’s general obfuscation, and built a story on false pretences. It’s notable that no quote is provided from Walker to back up the statements quoted above; in fact, the sole quote from the Captain is that he had not yet been shown a contract and “did not know what the situation is”, which is essentially what he repeated ad nauseum to Ms Wilson.

Don’t get me wrong, I remain unconvinced that the axing of the PGF’s contract really is as above-board as Peter Dunne has been asserting, but this Herald story simply seems to have been based on a misunderstanding.

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