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Problem gambling research cuts cause for concern

Internal Affairs Spokesperson
Problem gambling research cuts cause for concern

A consultation document on minimising the harm caused by gambling has recommended research contracts be slashed by almost half says Labour’s Internal Affairs spokesperson Ruth Dyson.

The standard consultation document, released this morning by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne is required every three years under the Gambling Act 2003.

“The recommendation to cut funding is a short-term fix, explained away by the Government’s usual, unconvincing excuses,” Ruth Dyson said.

“The service plan for 2010/2011 saw $2,499,073 allocated to ‘research contracts’ while in 2012/13 this funding is cut to $1,423,000.

“These cuts will be really damaging. The report’s rationale is even less convincing and is laced with political rhetoric about working towards ‘enhanced efficiency and effectiveness’ in the public sector in ‘uncertain’ global times.

“So not only does the Government want to increase the number of pokie machines at our largest casino, but it wants to curb efforts to determine the harm gambling causes.

“If I was Peter Dunne, I would have sent this report back,” Ruth Dyson said.

“The recommendations don’t make sense. When you have public money been spent on programmes or interventions into an industry such as this, decisions should always be made on evidence-based research.

“If you cut funding for research, we lose that solid foundation and stand to waste money on programmes that don’t work.

“I also have concerns about assertions within the report around gaming machines and the harm they cause.

“Misleading information in such a sensitive area can be really damaging.

“The government is calling for submissions on the document and I recommend those interested ensure their voice is heard on these issues,” Ruth Dyson said.

For the full report visit:

Submissions on the document close on 7 September. To make a submission go to

Table 1: Services funded (GST exclusive), 2010/11 to 2012/13 service plan
Services 2010/11 ($) 2011/12 ($) 2012/13 ($)
Public health services 6,757,795 7,090,551 6,965,362
Intervention services 8,413,180 8,549,343 8,563,730
Research contracts 2,499,073 2,224,073 1,423,000
Ministry of Health operating costs 957,044 978,617 1,000,839
Total 18,627,092 18,842,584 17,952,931

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