Brian Edwards Media

When you’re wrong, you’re wrong – I was wrong

I’ve taken down the post “The (Kiwi) Wolf of Wall Street Strikes Again” because I was factually wrong in my view that while the Gambling Foundation had been highly critical of the Government’s ‘pokies for convention centre’ deal, the Salvation Army had not. That weakens the argument that the Foundation was being punished for its attacks on the Prime Minister and Government. Having advised clients for years how important it is to admit your mistakes, I’m admitting this one. That said, I withdraw nothing that I said in the previous post: “Why I wouldn’t trust John Key as far as I could throw him – a response”.



  1. The argument as I’ve heard it from various sources was that the PGF was a much more effective at getting under the skin of either the government or the poker machine trusts, and that is the underlying reason it was defunded.

    After all, it would not be seemly for the government to cut all funding for problem gambling (although I suspect some of them want to), but it would make sense to defang your most effective critic as a second best alternative.

    • The PGF has clearly stated that government funding was not used for its political advocacy. Presumably therefore, the cuts in funding should have no impact on its ability to continue to be a thorn in the side of both government and trust.

      • 1.1.1

        That’s a specious argument. Part of what enables effective advocacy is being in the same place, working on the same things. Dispersing ⅔ of the staff throughout the workforce will destroy most of the organisation, which is what the cuts will entail.


          Not at all. The primary purpose of funding is to deal with problem gamblers. If an organisation wishes to engage in political advocacy to is free to do so but there is no reason why this advocacy should be supported by the taxpayer.


            Problem gamblers are a sector of society who may be helped by political advocacy.


              But their IMMEDIATE need is resourcing and support to escape the affects of addiction. Whatever else, a group of committed people, professional or not, is a powerful means of delivering that.

  2. I forgot to add that this is the government whose leader issued threats of defunding to the Human Rights Commission, masked behind an admonition for tardiness (because everyone knows that execution is a just punishment for a single act of tardiness).

  3. Well done. Believe it or not as I read and responded to the now withdrawn post my main thought was that if you would simply admit to being wrong you could prove that you’re better than most pundits. Respect restored.

  4. Salvation Army put out one media release critical of the deal (not Oasis – who have been awarded the contract). Problem Gambling did hundreds of media interviews critical of the extra harm that would result. Make of that what you will…

    • Good grief, don’t tell me I was wrong in admitting I was wrong. But I’ll let it go. I’ve said what I really wanted to say in the original post. Followers of this site are welcome to use their comments to carry on debating whether this was government utu or not.

      • Yes, I agree that there’s nothing wrong to admit that your wrong whatever the topic is. Debating on whether that was a government utu or not is a different issue.

    • The Liberal Left is being economical with the truth as usual. The SA made a lengthy submission on the SC proposal. They ran an enthusiastic campaign on Facebook. They made their views known through all the media outlets. They were just as vocal as the PGF.

      Had circumstances been differentand it had been the SA that had lost the contract we would have had the same bleating from the Liberal Left about knee capping.

      It is irrelevant who provides the service as long as those who need help get it. I suspect the LL do not give a toss about those who most need the help. This is just a heaven sent opportunity to score some political points.

      As it happens I believe that organisations helping problem gamblers should not get a cent from the taxpayer. They should be funded 100% by those who cause the problem and that should be written into law. That at least would stop the issue being treated as a political football.

      Finally I await with interest the policy of the Labour Party on gambling issues. The last Labour Government did bugger all to tackle the problem, like so many things they now bleat about. A recent article by John Minto expressed the view that there is little difference between the Labour Party and its collection of time servers and the Nats. He is quite right. At least with the Nats they shaft you from the front rather than sneaking round the back muttering concerns for the social injustice of those who learn $150000 and live like rich pricks in large houses.


        Sounds like the usual government tendering process involving contracts to do with the gambling industry.

        Ben- so why would the government defund a long standing successful agency?

        And on the subject of the Salvation Army- what does a ‘D’ for child poverty mean do you think? Could you answer that one? Hint: it’s not Dotcom.

        “Labour introduced the Gambling Act in 2003, preventing further expansion of gambling facilities.”
        When you are wrong you are wrong Ben. Who is being economical with the truth now?


          The 2003 act primarily prevented the opening of more casinos. It did little to address the explosion in gaming machines.

          If a future Labour government wants to make a real contribution to alleviating child poverty one way would be to commit to outlawing gaming machines in toto. That of course would upset big business which is why National Lite (sorry Labour) would never do it. It would also upset those in the community who also tut tut about child poverty but support organisations to whom gaming machines funds are distributed.

      • 4.2.2

        Looking at their respective websites, the Sallies are rank amateurs next to the PGF, who seem to do a lot more than mere counselling. That alone makes the government’s decision baffling.

        • Um, are you sure you aren’t confusing breadth with depth?

          Given that the PGF is staffed by a number of political beasts, I have little doubt they view lobbying Wellington as the PRIMARY means of fulfilling their mandate.

          If the sallies are “amateur” in their lobbying efforts, that is not necessarily reflected in the quality of their hands-on treatment. Indeed, voluntary institutions can do a WHOLE lot that professional bureaucratically-minded institutions can’t.

          I acknowledge you can make an argument of “fences at the top of the cliff vs ambulances at the bottom”. Nonetheless, even amongst those who are generally ambivalent about faith-based initiatives, the Sallies have about the best “brand” going.


            The point was that the PGF appears to do much deeper and more wide ranging work on gambling than the Sallies do. That’s not knocking the Sallies, since they are fine at what they do, but it is odd that you would use them to replace a specialist agency that had an excellent international reputation.


              Yeah, and I acknowledge that the PGF is “more wide ranging”. But “deeper” than the sallies?! On what do you base that?

              I don’t know if your earlier statement about “mere counselling” was a Freudian slip, but whatever “excellent international reputation” the PGF may enjoy courtesy of of professionalism, I don’t think it comes within a bull’s roar of the salllies.


          The primary issue is those who have gambling problems not which organisation happens to be more skilled in lobbying.

          If the SA can help those in need that is the primary purpose fulfilled. The PGF can do as it likes.


            As one of the many things I am looking forward to- using this logic to disestablish the National party and give all their funding to the Conservatives.

            Pretty much the same right, f-kazooo-o?

            “National manager of addictions Captain Gerry Walker said he had not yet been shown a contract and “did not know what the situation is”.

            His organisation had applied for its usual amount of funding for gambling addiction services – between $1 million and $2 million.

            Instead, the ministry decided that it would take over as the national provider.”

  5. From the Herald

    Salvation Army addictions director Captain Gerry Walker said he was also unaware that the foundation had lost its main contract until he read news reports on Friday, but confirmed the army tendered to provide “more than we currently deliver”.

    He said the army has 18 gambling-related staff in six “Oasis” centres, compared with 63 Problem Gambling Foundation staff in 10 centres.

    It will be interesting to see how the case progresses.

  6. The PGF can always ramp up the criticism of the govt. But will they. What other form of ‘knee capping’ is being threatened.

    What do the strategy brain-fart team in the govt plan next.

  7. Brian, seems the ‘usual trolls..oops suspects’ don’t appreciate your admission of being wrong. Either that or they are checking the heavily revised Key cabinet manual on how to respond to this type of situation.

    • Hmm, I’ve checked the playbook, er, I mean manual…something here about “send in the dancing cossacks”. Gets their eye off the ball, every time!

      • Oh! there you are Kimbo…. thought you must have dropped off that slippery vernacular slope. Actually….sending in the dancing cossacks would be a topical move for Key. Have you mentioned this to him?

        • I’ll let him know next time we play golf with Barack Obama. Oh, aren’t I just a terrible name-dropper!

          Tell you what, if you want I can put in a good word for you to make up the foursome.

    • 7.2

      Kat, you are so one-eyed, it is hard to take you seriously.
      Learn to love your PM because he loves you.

  8. The test for Key is what he does after the election(should I say when?) if he loses. Has this just been another bucket list task to be crossed off

  9. Some context…….