Use tobacco tax for dairies' security - David Seymour

The ACT Party is calling for the Government to use tobacco tax to pay for better security for dairy owners.

Party leader David Seymour says installing single cigarette pack dispensers would help tackle the "epidemic of violent robberies".

Only on Saturday afternoon, a west Auckland dairy was attacked, a brazen daylight robbery for cash and cigarettes.

Ominously, the offenders closed the door behind them, and one of them had a knife.

It was a terrifying experience for Jitendra Patel and his wife but thankfully, they escaped unharmed.

Mr Seymour says tax increases on tobacco have made cigarettes a target for thieves, and dairy owners are paying the price.

He wants the Government to give back tobacco tax to dairies so they can pay for single pack dispensers which stop robbers grabbing them in bulk.

"If we're going to make them collect an extra $20,000 worth of extra tax and put them in further harm next year, I think we should give them a year off, let them keep that tax and invest in technology to keep themselves safe," he said.

There have been around 40 attacks on dairies in the past month.

Kamaljit Singh, whose south Auckland dairy which was hit earlier this week, hopes the machines would prevent them being easy targets.

"I was actually going to talk about my cigarette companies for them to start investigating how we can safeguard these cigarettes," he said.

Z Energy has announced it will spend up to $1 million in locking away its tobacco in single pack dispensers at 50 of its Auckland petrol stations.

"If it is going to safeguard the businesses and if it is going to deter the offenders, why not. Let's look at all these ideas," Crime Prevention Group's Sunny Kaushal said.

It may not be the only solution, but dairy owners say it would be a start.