I’ve been sent a copy of an OIA response from the Ministry of Health about how many organisations receive taxpayer funding for anti-smoking programmes, and to what level. The OIA is embedded below.
As one can see there is a nice wee industry out there all funded by the taxpayer. Around 100 organisations getting around $50 million between them.
Now I’ve not got an issue with the total amount of funding. Smoking is highly addictive and helping people to quit or not start can be a good use of Vote Health dollars.
It is more the sheer number of groups that get funded. I’d rather have a few dedicated highly professional groups, than 100 or so. A large number appear to be Maori groups. Again, I’d rather fund one or two groups with a proven track record in reducing Maori smoking rates, than the 35 that have been getting funding.
The cynic in me wonders how much of the funding goes on lobbying for more money, and reporting on what they have done.