Rawene Masonic Pub operators have closed the gaming section of their establishment after discovering a young mother was leaving her baby outside the door while she was playing pokies. Glen Dick and Lana Marie Turnbull posted on the pubs facebook page on Saturday stating 'effective immediately we will no longer be a gaming venue', and went on to describe that it was the young woman who had left her young baby alone while she was inside gambling that had influenced their decision.
Anti-gambling advocate Dr. Lance O'Sullivan told Kawekōrero it was a brave stance for the couple to take given the high commission that comes pokie machines, often outweighing profits from food and beverages.
"What these machines and this type of gambling does encourage is the desperate hope the desperation and hopefulness of a quick buck that will turn around people's situations which usually are quite dire," says O'Sullivan.
After sharing the story of the young woman, Dick and Turnbull went on to say, "If these gaming machines can influence people to this kind of behaviour, then we want nothing to do with it and we hope that we have the support from our community with our decision."
O'Sullivan believes gaming trusts should not be allowed to go into vulnerable communities such as Kaitaia, Hokianga, and Rawene with such propositions.
"It shouldn't be just down to the bravery and courage of say, the people at Rawene Masonic Hotel to make a decision and make a stand, it's actually Government and the regulatory bodies to make this stand and say look we don't think this is good for communities such as Hokianga, such as Kaitaia and elsewhere," says O'Sullivan