National Remutaka candidate shocked after walking in on attempted dairy robbery while handing out law and order pamphlets

"That is really hard when you're a mum of four kids out in the community."
"That is really hard when you're a mum of four kids out in the community." Photo credit: Facebook - Emma Chatterton for Remutaka

National's candidate for Remutaka was shocked after walking in on an attempted robbery at a local dairy while handing out law and order pamphlets. 

Last Thursday at about 3pm, Remutaka candidate Emma Chatterton was walking the streets of her electorate, delivering law and order pamphlets to local businesses ahead of a public meeting on the matter.

Chatterton walked into a local dairy, which she didn't want to identify, to deliver a pamphlet and says she "was not expecting to walk in and see something unfolding in front of me".

She said three staff members were faced with a man covered in mud across his trousers and dry blood on his face and shoulder. She claims the man was demanding staff hand over alcohol and tobacco. 

"I didn't really know how that was going to play out and whether it was worse or better to remain in the shop behind this guy. And so I just decided to stand there at the back by the exit."

Chatterton told Newshub the three staff members dealt with the ordeal "phenomenally", but it took a bit of negotiation to get the man to leave. 

"Eventually through this kind of backwards and forwards, [they] agreed to take some confectionary from the front counter. The team said, you know, 'just take it, it's fine. You just take it' to try and get him out the door."

She claims the man laughed off their offer and said "maybe I'll come back and pay double another time".

"I guess that was intimidating. It was a bit scary and it just speaks to the sense of lawlessness across New Zealand because I think I felt helpless. They felt helpless."

Chatterton says she felt "frozen in time" during the alleged attempted robbery, and was tossing up in her head what she should do. 

"Am I in danger? Are the shop owners? In danger? Who else might be about to walk into the store? How do we de-escalate this? Should I step out and call the police? Or is drawing attention to the fact that I'm here going to make this all worse?"

Chatterton said "the irony wasn't lost on me" that she happened to walk in on an attempted robbery while handing out law and order pamphlets. 

"It is completely ironic. But, you know, like I said in my post, why do dairy owners have to give away stuff to keep themselves safe? And why do communities have to make compromises and put up with it like it's happening everywhere? And for me, it was confronting."

She said members in parts of her community feel unsafe, and told Newshub she shares that fear.

"That is really hard when you're a mum of four kids out in the community. And this isn't like the dead of night. This is 3pm in the afternoon just before going on the school run."

Chatterton told Newshub she left it up to the dairy owners to decide what they wanted to do, but understood they hadn't reported the alleged attempted robbery to police.