David Seymour, the ACT leader has hatched a plan to make our dairies safer.

He wants the Government to give back tobacco tax to diaries so they can use it to improve their security, and install cigarette vending machines.

You could buy one pack at a time from vending machines so it would stop thugs from targeting dairies to buy them in bulk.

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


And you can only assume it's going to get worse because new legislation will increase the price of cigarettes to about $30 a pack by 2020.

It's designed to help push New Zealand to be a smokefree country by 2025. That's the plan. And so hiking the price is one of the incentives to drive people to stop.

Some 15 per cent of adult Kiwis smoke. That increases to 22 per cent for Pacific Islanders and 35 per cent of Maori.

And so if you smoke a packet a day, at the moment that's costing you around $175 a week, or a staggering $700 a month.

And suddenly, we're getting this spike in violent crime where dairies and service stations are being raided for their fags.

Seymour argues that continually upping the tax on tobacco has made dairies and service stations a target for theft, so give them some of that tax back to allow them to protect themselves.

It's an interesting position he's taken.

I don't think the Government should give the tax from cigarettes back to dairies to protect themselves. That's a bit of an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff for me.


But I do like the idea of vending machines.

They distribute one pack at a time, and you'd need to cement them into the ground of course, but put them out the front of dairies or service stations and they could be refilled by the wholesaler who brings their own security with them.

That would stop the raids. Another dairy owner was targeted at the weekend in Ranui in west Auckland. He was robbed at knifepoint. Another in Woolston in Christchurch has a handgun held to their head in the wee hours of yesterday morning. This was at a Night 'n Day. They took cash and cigarettes. It was the eighth time in seven months that dairy has been hit.

And when you consider there have been some 40 attacks in the past month and in many cases the attackers are armed with guns and knives or machetes, you get the feeling it's only a matter of time, don't you?

You get the feeling that someone is going to be killed soon. Stabbed or shot. Something's going to go wrong.

Are vending machines the answer? I think they're part of the answer.


They would remove the need for human interaction, and would also remove part of the threat to life our dairy owners face on a daily basis.

Rachel Smalley hosts Early Edition on Newstalk ZB