Campaign for pokie free hospitality launches

Last Thursday I went to a pub in Manukau to celebrate the launch of a campaign called Our Place is Proudly Pokie-Free and heard from the proprietor how after a career in the hospitality industry, top of his list of criteria for the business he wanted to run was a family-friendly venue that didn’t have pokies in it.

Graeme Ramsey CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation and Mike Meharg the proprietor of the pokie-free establishment.



South Auckland has far too many of the 4059 pokie machines that are clustered in pubs and clubs in the Auckland region. According to the Auckland Council maps they have a higher density in lower income areas.

The council has responded to community pressure to reduce the numbers of pokies through a sinking lid policy in bars. Despite this South Auckland still has disproportionately far more pokies than Remuera.

IMG_9885The community pressure behind the sinking lid policy comes from organisations like the spirited Otara Gambling and Alcohol Action Group who have campaigned tirelessly for reductions in alcohol outlets and pokie bars in their neighbourhoods.  These groups were also supporting the event on Thursday night. They welcomed the stance taken by the Manukau bar as a ‘safe’ entertainment environment.

Taking a stand against pokies is not just good for the community it is also good for the hospitality sector as a whole.

The Australian Productivity Commission reported that pokies suck money away from other entertainments. It’s not spent on restaurants, music, and for hundreds of problem gamblers it’s also money not spent on the necessities of life.

photo (2) beerThe bar – 1981 in Great South Road – celebrates the 80’s with style and class. My beer was offered in a glass or a pint. I opted for the pint, thinking I’d be handed a standard handle.

But, as the Waste spokesperson for the Greens and a keen supporter or re-use initiatives I was delighted to be served my beer in a glass pint milk bottle.

About Denise Roche 161 Articles

Green Party MP

6 Comments Posted

  1. T’old lass asks

    What do you suggest, prohibition?

    Hell no. Prohibition generally doesn’t work. But in terms of pokies, prohibition is exactly what some are calling for, and the sinking lid (or kid!) policy is a tool to try to achieve that.

  2. Sorry Yvonne, had to laugh at your typo, when I settled in Manurewa in 1954 there was no pub and the Papakura one closed at six. In sixty years the beautiful township has become a cess pit. It is so sad especially as there are many parents who do not want their kids to sink into a trough of despair.

  3. Hi Denise: Could not agree more with your comments about the plethora of gambling machines in Manukau. The number of such premises in Manurewa alone is amazing and depressing. But I don’t think a ‘sinking kid policy’ is a viable response to the problem. 🙂

  4. It can be even more complicated. Mr Muldoon said they would bring in Lotto over his dead body, or some such, because doing so would destroy the horse industry in NZ and breeding champion horses brought in a lot of overseas funds. He thought it better to gamble at the TAB.

    If the guy has a family friendly pub, good for him, most of those establishments seem to be nothing but dens of inequity according to the media.

    What do you suggest, prohibition? Then we would get gangsters, just as forbidding pot brought millions of dollars to the gangs here.

    It is a conundrum which ever way you look at it. Forbid booze and gambling to the great unwashed but let those with money enjoy a flutter on the stock exchange, especially if they can buy up our State Assets.

  5. Agreed, good on 1981. A proprietor can do what he likes, within the law, and if he wants to have a pokie free venue, thats his choice and good on him.

    You might at least have posted a link to the venue:

    Of course, one could wonder at the irony of Denise promoting a pub, a “family friendly” environment, that sells alcohol, whilst decrying gambling: the statistics on the cost of alcohol to society are truly frightening.

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