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Problem gambling report must be made public

Sandra Goudie MP
National Party Internal Affairs Spokeswoman

2 November 2006

Problem gambling report must be made public

National Party Internal Affairs spokeswoman Sandra Goudie says Damien O’Connor must release in full the Health Ministry’s report into the overpayment of groups dealing with problem gamblers.

“Potentially, hundreds of thousands of dollars has been poured into counselling services that were never delivered. Mr O’Connor must first accept there’s a problem, then set out a strategy to ensure this never happens again.”

In answer to a parliamentary question on October 24, the Associate Health Minister signalled he was due to receive a report on the problem gambling sector by tomorrow (November 3).

A few days earlier National had released documents showing vastly different sums were being paid to problem gambling providers, including one group which received $86,124 for counselling just six clients.

In some cases, all that was delivered was a 16-minute phone conversation.

“This Minister's officials have been getting quarterly reports that should have shown that providers were falling well short of contracted levels, yet he failed to do anything about it until it was raised in Parliament.”

Ms Goudie says Damien O’Connor must make all the details in the report public.

“This is classic Labour - spray money at the problem but don’t bother to check where it’s going or if it’s working. The next National Government will be a far more careful custodian of the public purse.”


ENDS

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