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PGF makes a difference on Gamble Free Day

Press Release PGF makes a difference on Gamble Free Day


“Problem gambling has harmed too many New Zealanders and 1st September is the day to make a difference,” says Kawshi De Silva, Public Health Director for the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

“This is the second annual Gamble Free Day and PGF is marking it with events up and down the country, from a CD release to a picket in Manurewa, to the release of 1000 balloons from Parliament steps in Wellington, to a joint agency Hui in Invercargill. It is very exciting that many communities will be involved in recognizing the harm gambling causes, and especially the damage done by pokies,” says Dr De Silva.

Pokies account for over 81% of gambling problems because of their accessibility and availability in communities and $1.027 billion was lost on pokies in pubs and clubs last year. However, only 12% of problem gamblers in New Zealand are seeking help which means a further 88% are not accessing the help that is available.

Problem gambling devastates communities, which has been seen in a large number of gambling-related crimes reported. These include theft, fraud, kidnapping and murder. A 2004 KPMG study found gambling to be the second highest motivator for property crime and the highest motivator for fraud.

“Only this week there was yet another report of a woman stealing from her employer to gamble on the pokies,” she says.

“New Zealanders need to know what is going on in their communities and how much problem gambling can harm them, their loved ones and their wider community.

Last year New Zealanders lost $2.027 billion through all forms of gambling
• $1.027 billion was lost on non-casino pokie machines
• There are 20,739 non-casino pokies in 1701 venues
• Pokies were the primary mode of gambling for 81% of clients
• 2714 new clients (gamblers and their families) sought help in the year ended 30.06.05
• Over 60% of problem gamblers live in low socio-economic areas

• Release of CD, “We Gotta Stop” at Dawn Raid studios (133 Kolmar Road, Papatoetoe) 10-11.30am. Song written by Lil’ Tyrone, a 16 year old from Northcote, about gambling and the effects it has on him and his peers, speaking from personal experience. Contact: Catherine Fitzsimons, PGF Auckland on (09) 369 0621,(027) 354 6588 or email
• Picket at 12 noon outside Joker’s bar (185 Great South Road, Manurewa). Jokers distributed $1.8 million in gamblers losses last year but none of it went to the local community. Contact: Bill Bradford, PGF Auckland on (09)369 0610, (027) 346 2372 or email

• A table will be set up at 12 noon in the middle of Whangarei mall giving out stickers and balloons. Contact: Diane Matthews on (09) 430 2033, (027) 489 4802 or email

• Display with other service providers (10am-3pm) in the centre of Garden Place. Contact: Catherine O’Kelly, PGF Hamilton on (07) 834 0014, (027) 489 4801 or email

• One thousand balloons representing the 100,000 people affected by problem gambling are being released at Parliament steps at 9am. Hon. Damien O’Connor, Minister for Problem Gambling will be available for comment and Green MP Sue Bradford will meet the delegation. Contact: Kawshi De Silva, PGF Auckland on (09) 369 0613, (027) 489 4804 or email
• Gamble Free Day activities in Manners Mall (Cnr Manners and Cuba Streets) from 11:30am-2pm. A pokie machine wrapped in chains will be the centerpiece. Staff will be wearing a green T-shirts with the key message GAMBLE FREE DAY SAVES $5.5 MILLION. The activity is in conjunction with Oasis. Contact: Terry Taumaa, PGF Wellington (04) 473 4360 or email

• PGF and Maori Social Service are doing a joint community awareness raising exercise Te Kahui Haurora are doing a joint effort with a focus on the newspaper. A full page in the lifestyle section with interviews with two consumers and a large advert of our joint service. Contact: Phil Townshend, PGF Nelson (03) 546 1994, (027) 229 0088 or email

For all Christchurch events please contact David Coom, PGF Christchurch on (03) 379 2824, (027) 459 4722 or
• Linwood – A community expo (177 Linwood Avenue) which will feature static displays, films and media displays, quiz’s, interactive games and refreshments between PGF, Salvation Army and He Waka Tapu 10am–2pm. The event features invited guest, Hon. Ruth Dyson, Minister of Senior Citizens, Disability Issues and ACC
• Christchurch City – display and speakers in Christchurch Square, outside the Cathedral
• Christchurch Korean restaurants – 19 Korean restaurants are giving a 10% discount for customers on Gamble Free Day
• Hornby – joint community event with Presbyterian Church, PGF and Heartlands project with youth focus – involving workshop panel, invited community agencies12 noon–2pm. Held at Heartlands Services, 25 Shands Road
• Aranui – Barbeque and information dissemination 12 noon–2pm as a joint project with Aranui Community Trust (Aranui Community Trust, Hampshire Street)

• PGF in partnership with social service agency ‘Family Focus’ are hosting a lunch with displays and speakers – targeting mainly health and social service providers 12 noon–2pm (Family Focus Services, 18 Tasman Street)
Contact: Ian Newcombe, PGF West Coast (03) 768 0369 or

• PGF in partnership with Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu are planning a Hui 12 noon–2pm with other stakeholders (83 Don Street)
Contact: David Coom, PGF Christchurch (03) 379 2824, (027)459 4722 or

Asian Services
For all Asian Services activities please contact: Wen Li Zhang, PGF Asian Services, Auckland (09) 369 0618 or
• Distributing pamphlets and stickers to promote Gamble Free Day in Britomart 8–10am and along Queen Street, Auckland City from 10am-1pm

PGF provide free and confidential services to anyone with – or affected by – problem gambling. All you have to do is call us free on 0800 664 262.


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