It's hammer time: Activist's pamphlet urges people to drive machines from communities
Long-time political activist John Minto's name is linked with recruiting 200 people to an anti-gambling-machine campaign called "Hammer the Pokies".
The Aucklander has been leaked a document outlining a plan to gather concerned citizens to "drive pokie machines out of our neighbourhood communities".
"Pokies are a cancer on society and are destroying low-income families. We ask people to get themselves a hammer and register it for a civil disobedience activity," says the pamphlet.
The document - illustrated by a poker machine with a smashed screen - cites the contact points for the campaign as Mr Minto's email address, the action group he belongs to, as well as his name and home phone number.
Mr Minto, who confirmed he was behind the pamphlet but did not want to comment further, is a political activist associated with left-wing groups and causes, most notably Hart, which campaigned against the 1981 Springbok rugby tour.
Today he is involved with the protest group Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Unite union.
The "Hammer the Pokies" pamphlet seeks to register 200 hammers. "We will organise a gathering at a local pokie venue in Auckland and put them to work on the machines."
It offers to send a speaker to organisations to talk them through the campaign.
A posting on Global Peace and Justice's website claims 40 people have already registered for the anti-pokies campaign.
Police spokesman Jon Neilson said officers would be interested in talking to whoever was circulating the pamphlet, to find out their intentions.
"If people make a threat to someone's safety or property then that is a crime if they have the intention of carrying out that threat."
Investigations reveal Mr Minto's name has been associated with posts online to recruit hammer hands as early as 2007.
Global Peace and Justice Auckland was formed to bring together all peace and justice groups and is based in Epsom.
The objectives of the groups are to sharpen public debate about the destructive effects of pokies, reduce the number of machines, embarrass local authorities and the Government into action to close down pokies and bring a shift of democratic power back to local communities.
The latest push comes as Auckland City Council reverses its sinking-lid policy to reduce the number of venues to allowing new venues to replace existing ones. Also this month, the Trust Charitable Foundation was ordered to shut down 74 venues for six days for unjustified expenses involving a member of the Racing Board.By John Landrigan