Dairies call for lockdown help from police
Dairy owners across the Bay of Plenty and wider New Zealand are asking police for greater protection against robberies during level four lockdown measures.
More than 4000 owner-operated dairies and service stations have stepped up as essential businesses during the current restrictions.
Bosses have launched the plea for enhanced police support – particularly in the country’s emptier central business areas where it is feared existing problems could intensify during lockdown conditions.
Dairy and Business Owners Group chair, Sunny Kaushal, says the corner dairy has once again come to the fore to as an “essential” business, but is calling for more assistance from law enforcement.
“Dairies, convenience stores and service stations are everywhere Kiwis need us to be and are open when Kiwis need essential items,” says Sunny.
“Yet with almost a robbery every day, the current lockdown could make us more of a target.
“As robberies cause huge mental distress and sadly injury as well as property damage, a robbery could close a dairy when a community needs it the most.
“We are asking our good friends at the police to keep an extra eye on dairies and service stations during trading hours and especially late at night after non 24/7 businesses close.
“This is especially the case in our emptier central business areas where there are big existing problems as well as in remote and rural locations too.”
As well as extra police protection, Sunny has also called for dairy and service station staff to be classed as frontline essential workers when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination priority.
And he claims with the right reforms, dairies will be better equipped to service New Zealand’s team of five million both during and after lockdown.
“Dairy and service station workers must be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccinations,” says Sunny.
“Much talk has been about the supermarkets, yet again, despite dairies helping to stop non-essential travel to supermarkets.
“That’s why dairies and service stations are not just for Covid. We are going to tell the Commerce Commission that we could offer Kiwis much cheaper goods if they undertake real supermarket reform.
“Instead of spending taxpayers' money to get a new supermarket chain to set up shop here, the Commerce Commission needs to focus upon the supermarket’s grip over grocery wholesaling, distribution and logistics.
“Security, vaccinations and grocery reform will help dairies to keep servicing the team of five million, not only now, but well after this lockdown ends.”