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Owners of dairies and service stations welcome tobacco robbery study

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hundreds of dairy and service station owners will agree with a study led by Dr Marewa Glover that there is a link between hikes in the tobacco excise tax and robberies.

"We thank Dr Glover and her team at the Centre of Research Excellence Indigenous Sovereignty and Smoking, for calling it as it is. within the journal, Safer Communities," says Sunny Kaushal of the Crime Prevention Group and the Dairy and Business Owners Group.

"Since the creation of Smokefree 2025 there’s been an ill-conceived obsession with tax and since April 2010, the price of a pack of cigarettes has increased by 124.5% not counting inflation. 20% of this has come after Dr Glover’s study finished in 2018 so the problem has got worse.

"Dr Glover found that over 60% of robberies occurred in dairies, followed by petrol stations (22%), liquor stores (9%) and convenience stores (5%)? With tobacco being the main target.

"The current government has realised that you can’t get keep getting $2 billion worth of excise blood from a smoking stone and has stopped further tobacco excise tax hikes. Hiking taxes year after year is not the solution to deter people from smoking, in fact, its done huge damage.

"We want the Government to spend some of the $2 billion that it collects in tobacco excise taxes on the safety of the small businesses with robberies now happening almost daily. The Police supports this approach.

"While National was responsible for hiking the excise by 100% over 10 years, our advocacy saw them put aside $1.8 million to help shops to install safety systems like alarms, fog cannons and safes.

"Up to 500 dairies and shops got assistance but under Labour this fund has finished. I've asked the government to reinstate it and this study should be the wake up. We have over 4,000 dairies and independent service stations that need support. Even vape stores are being ram raided too.

"Smokers will keep smoking and if it is not from dairies and service stations, then it’ll be from gang ‘ciggy houses, that we pointed out in our submission on the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan.

"We need to roll back tax incentives that’s driving this tobacco crime epidemic that impoverishes smokers in tandem with better security for stores, which, after all, collects billions in excise for the government.

"It would also help if vaping was made far more socially acceptable over smoking so that smokers genuinely feel it is genuinely different from smoking," Mr Kaushal said.

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