Problem Gambling Foundation, Tau Henare and the risk of commenting on social media

This morning it was revealed that the Problem Gambling Foundation had had their government funding cut. Now there are allegations that this funding cut has come about because of the Problem Gambling Foundations position on the Sky City Casino deal.


This element of the story if in dispute.



It is not the place of this blog to comment on the truth or not of these aligations, it is solely interested in the social media aspects of this story.

This morning the following exchange Took place:



I understand the point that Tau Henare is trying to make. It is something worth discussing, as David Farrar of Kiwiblog has done here. However, Tau should have realised that at this point in the story, where the full details are not known, that Tweeting something like this would not end well. Twitter has limitations on the transmission of tone and intent. It is something that all users of Twitter, myself included, need to remember.

Tau has a record as being rather outspoken and forthcoming with his views, which is a good thing. But this does need to be tempered at times. There are other ways this point could have been made that did not come across in the same way that this has been taken. Some have seen Tau’s comments as an implication that the funding was cut for political purposes, or that members of the National Party would see that as a legitimate means to an end.  There has been much in the way of comments along these lines.


So what we have is Tau making a point, that could be debated, but doing so in a forum, and in a way that leads to negative assumptions about the views and intentions behind it. It was made at a point in the story cycle where the full details were not available. However, it has be revealed that the funding has gone to another organisation to provide the services, as the contract was contestable.



There is obviously more to come about this story, however it has been pointed out by some on Twitter that the allocation of funding to The Salvation Army doesn’t fit with the narrative of either side.



The over all lesson that should be taken from this by MPs is that be careful about how you comment on stories on social media early on in the cycle. Those comments are out there forever.



Peter Dunne has used Twitter to make the following statement on the issue.



Below are screen grabs of the whole thread coming off of @norightturnnz‘s original post.