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Paula and Nicky need to have a chat about tobacco crime

Paula and Nicky need to have a chat about tobacco crime

It’s not too late for the Government to restore its credibility on tobacco crime, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Yesterday I spoke with retailers disgusted by National’s tiny package to support at-risk shopkeepers. Only 600 stores will get access to a tiny support package, leaving 5,000 small retailers vulnerable.

“It’s hard not to agree with one dairy owner who stared down a TV camera and called the announcement ‘bull-sh*t’.

“It's the Government's tobacco tax hikes that have turned cigarette packs into gold bars and fueled a wave of violent crimes. If the Government still insists on hiking the tax, they should give next year's increase in revenue to the retailers for use on security measures.

“This would mean 8,000 retailers could share about $171 million – up to $21,000 each – and it wouldn’t cut into existing Government revenue. This would be enough funding for retailers to purchase strong-locked tobacco dispensers that would remove the incentive for robbery.

“Police Minister Paula Bennett should sit down with the Minister in charge of tobacco, Nicky Wagner, and sort this out. At the very least police should be recording when criminals target tobacco. Even better, they could agree to wind back tobacco tax so it’s enough to cover health costs, but no more.

“If you own a dairy or a liquor store, you have as much right as anyone else to feel safe at work. Sadly, it’s currently only ACT that stands alongside hard-working shopkeepers trying to make an honest living selling a legal product.”


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