Tairwhiti Health Board Member Tackles Lack of Support to NZ Casino Players

Gambling, whether land-based or online, is a highly popular activity in New Zealand. It is a multimillion-dollar industry with millions of NZ casino players and hundreds of New Zealand online casinos. Meredith Akuhata-Brown is a member of the district health board of Hauora Tair?whiti. She has recently spoken out against the lack of government-funded support service for NZ casino players who need such support. She clarified by stating that the players in that area haven’t had any access to free responsible gambling support services since September of 2018.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown Explains the Problem

The district health board member explained that the previous service provider was the Te Ara Tika Trust. She added that the previous provider and the Ministry of Health have agreed to end the contract back in 2018 mutually. Since that happened, finding another firm for a permanent solution has been difficult. The NZ casino players who received counseling services from the previous supplier also received drug and alcohol addiction counseling from this board.

Finding Suitable Candidates is Not Easy

According to numerous reports, planning and funding manager and the health board accepted a 20 year contract to run this service for NZ casino players in 2019. An intervention by the MOH quickly followed such action.

The health ministry requested from the board to help in the creation of a new problem gaming support service for NZ casino players in Tair?whiti. Such a contract started on the 1st of August, and the service was to begin in November. The plan was to hand it over  to a community provide. The jobs for this service made it to advertisements. On the other hand, the board failed to find any worthy candidates for these positions.

Temporary Solutions to Provide Support for NZ Casino Players

While the search of candidates continues, the ministry is considering a temporary solution so they can offer such a service. Akuhata-Brown has stated that the board will look into the probability of other organizations that can have a temporary contract. The solution would allow NZ casino players to have the crucial support that they need.

It seems that it is not only Tair?whiti that needs a counseling service. Tuta Ngarimu, the Nati4Life Trust manager, stated that NZ casino players in Gisborne are also in need of addiction treatment service. He noted that the trust focuses on suicide prevention and awareness. On the other hand, he stated that problem gambling and suicide are connected.

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