The Foundation believes that vulnerable individuals, families and communities should be protected and supported. Therefore, social justice is at the heart of the Foundation’s objectives. The Foundation believes that a just society is one where benefits and opportunities are equally accessible and equally shared and where all communities have the same opportunity and the same rights.
Arising from this commitment, the Foundation’s vision for Aotearoa New Zealand is:
Families and communities are healthy and resilient in a just society
The vision intentionally focusses on families and communities because that social structure is the foundation of our society and key to individual health and wellbeing. The vision interprets health in the broadest sense – physical, spiritual, emotional, social and intellectual. Resilience is part of the vision because no individual, family or community is free from challenges and resilience is key to living through hard times successfully. Finally, the inclusion of “just society” addresses the critical principle that whatever benefits or gains the Foundation’s work achieves will not be enough if the benefits are not equally experienced.
The mission focusses on what the Foundation will do to play its part in achieving the vision. The mission focusses on families and communities. However, minimising gambling harm for individuals, families and communities will require work outside the gambling framework and for some communities it will start first with family support, information and advice. The mission is:
Enhancing the mana of individuals, families and communities: to be free from gambling harm
The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF) is a national non-profit organisation predominantly funded by the Ministry of Health with funds received from the gambling levy.
PGF is the largest single treatment provider for problem gambling in Australasia with 63 staff, 13 branch offices and 14 satellite offices throughout New Zealand. Qualified counsellors provide free, professional and confidential counselling services for both gamblers and others affected by gambling and a dedicated Public Health team works on problem gambling issues in the community using a health promotion approach.
PGF’s Asian Family Services provide professional counselling and advice in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai.
Mapu Maia, PGF’s Pacific unit, provide a dedicated, culturally appropriate service for Pasifika. Its focus is to work with Pacific communities educating and raising awareness about the harm that gambling can cause. Mapu Maia provide counselling and support for Pacific families in Auckland that need help with problem gambling.
The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand began as the Compulsive Gambling Society (CGS) in 1988 with funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board. The prominent psychiatrist Fraser McDonald helped three men who were experiencing problems with gambling establish the CGS because at that time there were no services available to work with gambling problems. CGS started out as a telephone service with the first national hotline of its type internationally commencing operations in 1992. As the need grew, services expanded to include face-to-face services and a second clinic was opened in Manurewa in 1993.
In 2001 The Problem Gambling Foundation succeeded the Compulsive Gambling Society, moving away from an addictions and medical-based philosophy to a public health approach.
PGF continues to grow and improve the range of services. The underlying philosophy of eliminating harm and the public health approach to problem gambling that started with the founding team, continues to underpin our work today.