Tena koutou katoa,
We had a really good 2018 and I hope that this newsletter finds you all well and looking forward to a break with family and friends.
It’s a natural time for reflection and looking back over the year I can see some great achievements and some persistent challenges. Two strategic things happened that we devoted much of our effort to this year. One being the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, because we know that our clients when they present with gambling harm, either for themselves or as an affected other, almost always have either had or developed depression and/or anxiety – no surprises there. The second piece of work was submitting on the Ministry of Health Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm. Again, this is important because this is how the levy from which services are funded is set and hopefully, arising out of the Sapera Needs Assessment, will drive fresh policy work.
There were some great community successes that we were privileged to be able to support with the Feed Families Not Pokies campaign in Tokoroa and Pokie Free Tairawhiti in Gisborne. The Pause the Pokies Campaign that ran during Gambling Harm Awareness Week was also a great public health initiative. I was lucky enough to attend many of the venues who closed the machines for an hour; and was surprised and really pleased to hear the bar managers say (in more than one venue): “We need to do this more often, it’s good for our people.”
I am lucky enough to have nearly all my family with me over the Christmas break and between Aotearoa and European whānau it looks like we will start on Christmas Eve and finish on Boxing Day! It is also helpful that we have a general agreement of no presents for adults only children! Mind you, we are all someone’s child so I expect my mother will continue the little gifts she is famous for 😊.
Many families face hardship on a daily basis and Christmas can make things worse for those with very little so I encourage all of us to step up our own personal philanthropy and give to those organisations helping children and families at this time.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Meri Kirihimete me te tau hau hari
Paula Snowden joined the Problem Gambling Foundation as Chief Executive in December 2016.
She has wide government and not-for-profit sector experience. Paula was Deputy Chief Executive of the former Alcohol Advisory Council where she led the social marketing programme, and Chief Executive of the Quit Group Trust/Quitline through one of its most successful periods. Paula is passionate about making a difference and supporting people and organisations to be the best they can be. She is a skilled change manager. Paula’s tribal affiliations are Ngapuhi.