The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is disappointed at the $315,000 (plus GST) of taxpayers' money wasted on a report into gambling which has the academic rigour of a Thomas the Tank Engine colouring book. This was laid bare in a critique by Wellington-based economic consultancy firm TBD Advisory.
Union spokesperson Louis Houlbrooke says: “This deeply flawed report by Central Queensland University (CQU) and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has been the basis of gambling policy advice from the Ministry of Health for several years. An independent review by TBD Advisory has found that Ministers have been consistently misled in relation to the number of problem gamblers and the overall impact of gambling on Kiwis' well-being, based on this one report.”
“The report only counts the costs of gambling, not any of the benefits. This one-sided analysis of a two-sided issue is fundamentally flawed. TBD rightly likens it to a company audit which only counts all the expenses but none of the revenue. Obviously, that would incorrectly appear to be a huge loss under this model. This methodology is simply not good enough to form the basis of advice on gambling to the Minister of Health.”
“The study alleges low-risk gambling is allegedly worse for quality of life than the untreated amputation of a leg. That is clearly grossly over-stating the harm of gambling, a consistent theme in the report.”
“The Union believes that gambling policy should be based on solid advice. This report falls at every hurdle. The Ministry of Health should demand taxpayers' money back.”