Dairy owners attacked with meat cleaver, machete, hammer

Auckland dairy owner Salim Mulla and his wife were attacked behind their shop counter on Saturday.

Mr Mulla says he's shaken and can't sleep after the incident, which is the latest in a spate of robberies where offenders demand cash and cigarettes.

As he was serving a customer, Mr Mulla was ambushed by two men behind his own counter. He was punched to the ground within seconds. When his wife intervened, she too was pushed over and attacked.

After one of the attackers realised there was no money to grab, he went after the dairy's stock of cigarettes.

"We didn't give any money but they took lots of cigarettes," Mr Mulla told Newshub. "Maybe more than five grand I think."

Before the thieves left, one pulled out a meat cleaver before thinking better of it.

Mr Mulla went back to work on Sunday, uninjured but shaken. His wife wasn't so lucky - she's covered in bruises.

He's thankful for her bravery during the incident.

"If my wife wasn't here, I wouldn't know what would have happened to me, to tell the truth," he said.

The attack on their dairy is far from an isolated event. On Sunday, more than 50 small business owners gathered in Hamilton to find a solution.

Last week, two men entered Sandip Patel's dairy, one brandishing a machete, the other an axe. Mr Patel was cut in the head, punched and kicked while the axe-wielder stole cigarettes.

He fought back against his assailants and managed to chase them out. He says dairy owners need more resources, such as cigarette vending machines and fog cannons.

His calls were echoed by others at the Hamilton meeting, including a dairy owner who was recently attacked with a hammer.

The Police Minister says dairy owners can now apply for funded alarms, fog cannons or DNA spray. If they qualify for extra security measures, they won't have to pay more than a $250 contribution.

But it's not just resources they want, it's also a "tougher stance" on criminals, says superette owner Manish Thakkar who organised the meeting.

"Whenever incidents happen, we get an indication with police within two or three days, [saying] 'sorry there's a lack of evidence, we couldn't find them'."

Police are now investigating the attack on Mr Mulla's business.

He says he's hopeful the offenders are caught, and that he and his wife won't have to go through another terrifying ordeal like that again.