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Sallies Congratulated for moral leadership

...Press Release...

April 23, 2008

Sallies Congratulated for moral leadership

The Problem Gambling Foundation says the Salvation Army should be congratulated for their stance on gambling.

The Salvation Army is so alarmed about the social devastation caused by pokie machines it has decided to reject all funds from the gambling industry.

"The Sallies are loved and respected by most Kiwis for the wonderful work they do in the community," says Problem Gambling Foundation CEO John Stansfield.

"When they take a strong ethical stand we should all sit up and take notice.

"They have shown real leadership by making the hard choice to put moral considerations before money."

Mr Stansfield says increasing numbers of community and sporting organisations are refusing to take pokie money.

"Like the Sallies, they are questioning whether it is morally defensible to take money to deal with social problems from an industry that is responsible for causing so much harm.

Mr Stansfield says that problem gambling is responsible for family breakdowns, child neglect, poverty and crime It is also the biggest single reason for employee theft from community organisations.

"Most Kiwis have an inherent sense of fair play," he says.

"When they discover that the machines are deliberately placed in the poorest areas and designed to exploit a vulnerable group of people, they become uneasy.

"When they realise that pokie profits tend to move from the poor to the better off, from female to male and from brown people to white people, they struggle with the morality of accepting funding from gambling trusts.

"As the social fabric of their communities is ripped apart by the machines, many people are now asking why we allow them at all."

Mr Stansfield says that local government is waking up to the problem and many are responding by putting sinking lid policies in place.

"We have a situation where highly respected community organisations like the Salvation Army are saying there is a problem, local government is saying there is a problem, sporting organisations are saying there is a problem and a majority of New Zealanders are saying there is a problem.

"Communities are crying out for the government to do something but their voices don't seem to be able to penetrate the wall of indifference surrounding the Beehive.

"Surely there is one person in Government with the courage to show a bit of leadership and stand up to the gambling industry."


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