$65 million allocated to tackle gambling harm

30 June 2019

Gambling new strategy launched at SouthSeas Healthcare Clinic.

The government has recently announced the launch of its 3-year national strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm.

The strategy was announced by Associate Minister of Health Hon Jenny Salesa at SouthSeas Healthcare Clinic in South Auckland where gambling amongst Pacific women and youth is increasing.

The 3-year strategy designed to reduce gambling harm includes the government decision to increase the proportion of the gambling levy funded from the money lost by gamblers.

$60 million is provided for the strategy, with an additional $5m allocated for new services and innovation pilots, targeting those most adversely affected by gambling harm, particularly Māori, Pacific, Asian and low-income groups.

“Gambling harm is a serious mental health issue,” says Minister Salesa.

“This work is directly linked to the wellbeing of New Zealanders and supports healthier and safer communities. Currently about 5 per cent of New Zealand’s population experience some level of individual gambling harm, and 1 in 5 New Zealanders will be affected by their own or someone else’s gambling during their lifetime.”

The Strategy aligns with service changes recommended in the Inquiry, particularly those which recognise the voice of lived experience and the explicit prioritisation of Māori and other population groups.

The Strategy also aligns with the mental health and addiction initiatives set out in the Budget 2019, which aim to improve access to a range of free services and support for mental health and addiction.

“Gambling harm levels have reduced substantially compared with 25 years ago, however, they have plateaued in the last five years.”

“While many New Zealanders gamble occasionally without any harmful effects, for those who do experience harm from their own or someone else’s gambling, these harms can be significant.”

“We want to refresh our existing services to address the needs of the most vulnerable communities,” says Minister Salesa.

The strategy document shows that the Ministry of Health is working in conjunction with providers to develop and pilot a clinically robust model of care, based on intensive treatment for people experiencing severe gambling harm, but likely allowing for support for co-existing issues in addition.

More information on the Strategy can be found here.

SouthSeas Healthcare provides confidential support, education and counselling for those affected by gambling harm, as well as their family. If you are concerned about your own gambling or someone else’s please contact us today.

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