MPs meet dairy owners over flurry of attacks

Frustrated Auckland shop owners met with MPs on Sunday afternoon over ongoing assaults and robberies against them.

They want a special police task force to deal with violent crime on businesses and more rights to defend themselves.

It came as another shop owner was attacked in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga on Sunday afternoon. He was nicked on the neck by an offender brandishing a screwdriver, but fought back. 

He said he was traumatised by the attack and wanted to add his voice to others calling for tougher action from the Government and police.

There was another attack in Tauranga on Sunday afternoon, when two men - one armed with a hammer - managed to rob a dairy of cash and cigarettes.

The spate of attacks had left some store owners to feel as though their pleas to authorities for help were being ignored.

A week ago, liquor shop owner Narinder Singla led a protest against attacks on shop owners. This week, he's been left traumatised after yet another violent robbery.

It was broad daylight on Friday when a light-coloured car pulled up outside his store. Two men jumped out, while a getaway driver waited behind the wheel. At the time Mr Singla was serving a customer, unaware of what was about to happen, before a shirtless man started swinging.

Mr Singla told Newshub they were armed with a knife and a screwdriver.

"[They said], 'Open the till, give me the money, otherwise I will kill you. Give me the money, give me the money,'" he said.

After they took the money, the man with no shirt ran back to throw another punch. Mr Singla said the thieves even made numerous trips from the shop to the car and back, loading it up with alcohol.

The thieves made off with cigarettes, around $1500-$2000 in cash and around the same amount in alcohol. Police were yet to catch the offenders.

On Sunday afternoon, shop owners met with politicians to ask what their parties could do now to make them safe on the job.

"A number of these crimes have been fuelled I believe by a combination of poverty," Labour MP Louisa Wall said.

"We have 90,000 young people not engaged in education, training and employment."

National MP Parmjeet Parma said the party had invested $500 million in increasing police numbers.

"Our aim is that 90 percent of all emergency calls are answered within 10 seconds," she said.

Around 6000 shop owners and supporters have signed a petition calling for:

  • A special police task force to deal with crime on businesses
  • Toughening the existing law involving assaults and robberies
  • And giving shop owners more rights to defend themselves in attacks.

Mr Singla said attacks on shop owners were out of control and the Government and the police needed to take serious action.

"Their life is very precious. Keep them safe, because these intruders, these offenders, don't care. They don't bother about your life," he said.