The politician who rammed through cigarette price increases says dairies have a simple solution to prevent increasingly violent robberies - stop selling them.
Dame Tariana Turia told The AM Show on Monday that the death of 5000 people a year due to smoking-related illnesses is too high a price to pay, and her solution is simple. Stop selling cigarettes.
Dame Tariana, a former Māori Party co-leader, said she did sympathise with dairy owners who have been attacked, but said they wouldn't be a target if business operators refused to stock cigarettes in the first place.
Prime Minster Bill English has rulled out a ban.
"It's a legal product, the sale of it is heavily constrained. It's pretty heavily taxed, so we don't plan to stop selling it, but we are going to put 1100 more staff into the police to make sure that our communities are safe."
When asked about vending machines, the Prime Minister said the government is open to discussion to better ways of doing things "with the law is as it is."
Meanwhile, a crime prevention group in Auckland says it's not just cigarettes motivating robberies on dairies and liquor stores.
A crime prevention group in Auckland says it's not just cigarettes motivating robberies on dairies and liquor stores.
A spate of violent holdups has prompted a suggestion dairies stop selling cigarettes but, Stop Crime NZ founder Sunny Kaushal says that wouldn't prevent more holdups.
"The robbery that happened on Friday night in Henderson, this shop deals with beauty products. There's no cigarettes in that one," he told Newshub.
"But still, the robbers attacked that shop, they've taken the goods away."
Mr Kaushal says he's heard robbers are often stealing the goods to on-sell in various black markets.
Stop Crime NZ is calling for the right for shopkeepers to arm themselves.
"The shopkeepers, what they are saying is they should have a right to self-defence… The sellers should not be putting his or her life at risk like this."
But that doesn't necessarily mean arming themselves with firearms.
"The manner and the mode of self-defence, that needs to be defined by the authorities."
The group has launched a petition seeking increased police patrols, reopening closed police stations and proposing lowering the youth age to 11.