Steve Kilgallon at Stuff reports:
It’s been nearly four weeks since the story broke about a baby being abandoned outside a Northland pub while its mother played the pokies – but no-one can say who the baby was.
No official agency has conducted a formal investigation into the baby’s welfare, and the pokie machine trust involved said there’s no evidence to say the baby ever existed.
Glen Dick, the landlord of Rawene’s Masonic Hotel, had told media got rid of his pokies after discovering the baby on the footpath outside his pub while the mother was inside his pokie room.
I recall that story. It got a lot of publicity.
But Pub Charity chief executive Martin Cheer said a report commissioned from a specialist CCTV analytics company showed those events never happened.
Cheer has forwarded a report from Pinnacle Security Consultants, analysing a month’s work of CCTV footage from the pub in Rawene, in the Far North, to the Department of Internal Affairs asking them to investigate further. The DIA have declined.
He added that the Pinnacle report studied every interaction between Dick and any female customer who appeared to be under the age of 50 on four cameras which between them cover the main bar and the poker machine room.
The report stated there was no vision of an incident involving a baby, but also that there was no footage of Dick going into the pokie room and cashing out a female client in the way he had described in a series of interviews across various media.
Cheer said Dick’s original story changed to say he left the baby outside – beyond the range of the cameras – but that the poker machine cameras showed the rest of his story was untrue.
So if the story is invented, why? Was there some other reason he wanted to remove the pokie machines?
Absolutely up to a pub owner whether or not they have pokies. But why invent a story justifying their removal?