Sunset Pricecutter Superette owner Milesh Kumar does not doubt his Rotorua store will be deemed "high-risk" by the Government.

But on this occasion it will be a good thing.

The Government is joining forces with dairy, superette and small business owners in a bid to help reduce the number of violent robberies happening throughout the country.

Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced the Government will pick up the bulk of a $4000 price tag for a fog cannon, leaving retailers identified by police to be at risk of robberies with just $250 to pay.


A fog cannon is activated by an alarm which, once activated, fills the store with dense fog in seconds, rendering the robber incapable of seeing anything.

The previous Government set aside $1.8 million for the installation of devices like audible alarms, fog cannons and DNA spray on a 50-50 cost share basis between the state and business.

However, Nash deemed the expected business contribution to be beyond the reach of many.

Kumar said he and his staff had had their fair share of robberies and believed any incentive that kept him, his family and his staff safe was a worthwhile investment.

"We've been robbed quite a few times," Kumar said. "The scariest thing is not knowing the outcome until it happens."

Kumar admitted the initial $2000 cost had been prohibitive but agreed $250 made the decision to install a fog cannon a lot easier.

"I'll definitely be considering installing one once the Government has looked at the store."

Another in support of the cannons is Rotorua police crime prevention manager Inspector Brendon Keenan who says the benefits are two-fold.

"We've been having a spate of commercial premise robberies, particularly dairies and superette-type stores," Keenan said. "Staff have been doing a lot of reassurance visits, especially to businesses on Rotorua's fringes."

He said something like a cannon would be seen as a positive safety feature by police, not only to protect store staff but also for crime prevention.

"Safety of owners and staff is paramount. And if would-be robbers are made aware a store has implemented prevention methods, they are more inclined to look at the risk versus gain and will hopefully decide not to try their luck."

During the period business owners were expected to pay half of the overall cost, only seven fog cannons had been installed. Since the subsidy was introduced late last year a further 17 stores had installed the cannons during December and January, while eight more were awaiting fit out.