Small business owners will be able to access a $4000 Government subsidy to install fog cannons from February next year, prompted by a spate of ram raids, aggravated robberies and the fatal stabbing of Auckland dairy worker Janak Patel.
To qualify, retailers must have no more than two outlets and employ up to five people. They must also be street-facing, meaning outlets in malls or shopping centres where security was already provided wouldn’t be eligible.
The initiative was distinct from previous fog cannon subsidy schemes as it did not require a business to be a victim of crime to be eligible.
The subsidy would become available in February next year but retailers were encouraged to express their interest online at business.govt.nz.
“Early expressions of interest will go a long way to help us understand demand,” Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash said.
“Potential fog cannon suppliers will be able to apply for approval via the Government Electronic Tender Service in the week of December 19. They are encouraged to apply.”
When businesses were approved, they would be given a contact list of suppliers to work with to get the fog cannon installed.
After installation, the supplier would invoice the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to receive the subsidy. Any remaining costs would need to be paid by the retailer.
Last month, Rose Cottage Superette worker Janak Patel, 34, was stabbed to death in Sandringham after he confronted a man who had allegedly robbed the dairy.
Shortly after Patel’s death, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a raft of crime prevention measures, some of which were being developed before Patel’s death.
It included $4 million of matched funding for Auckland, Hamilton and Bay of Plenty councils to limit crime in high-risk areas, alongside $2m to “support intensive services and youth engagement is already being made available”, Police Minister Chris Hipkins said.
The Retail Crime Prevention Programme, created to supply crime-hit businesses with security measures in response to a spike in ram raids earlier this year, had also been expanded to include retailers that had endured an aggravated robbery in the last year.
“Police have already started working to identify recent victims of aggravated robbery and from January will start contacting them to assess their needs for the supply and installation of crime prevention products,” Hipkins said.