Ellerslie robbery shows cost of Hipkins’ bumbling

“The long-standing saga of Government bumbling became all too real today when Ellerslie Jewellers was robbed by a smash and grab using hammers and machetes. Ellerslie Jewellers started asking Police Minister Hipkins for support in August but were told they needed to be robbed first,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The long-standing saga of Government bumbling became all too real today when Ellerslie Jewellers was robbed by a smash and grab using hammers and machetes. Ellerslie Jewellers started asking Police Minister Hipkins for support in August but were told they needed to be robbed first,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“I visited Ellerslie Jewellers immediately after it was robbed, every cabinet had been smashed and nearly all the jewellery had been taken. A member of Community Patrols New Zealand who happened to be patrolling the area was hit with a hammer. Locals were clearly upset that this happened in their town centre.

“For months, the owners have been trying to get support from Chris Hipkins’ $6m fund for defences such as fog cannons. They were effectively told they needed to be robbed first. In an email dated August 22, Chris Hipkins’ Office told Ellerslie Jewellers ‘The funding available to access the $6 million support package to help protect businesses from ram raids is not contestable, and retailers are not able to apply for funding. Police is identifying eligible shops based on past victimisations and following weighted criteria to prioritise which shops receive assistance first. This approach has been chosen because it’s targeted, it creates equity by removing barriers to applying to the fund, and because evidence shows that once a location has been victimised it’s more likely to be re-offended against unless an intervention occurs.’

“ACT has been asking questions about this policy in parliament for months, challenging Chris Hipkins to make the scheme functional and get shops, such as Ellerslie Jewellers the defences promised. So far not a single shop has had protection installed. Not one.

“The $6 million fund was announced six months ago. In August Hipkins promised to speed up progress but still nothing has been delivered. If the government had delivered on its promise we might be seeing fewer victims who have been traumatised by these violent attacks.

“As a local MP I am spending more and more time visiting business owners who have been devastated by these attacks. We can’t leave them sitting and waiting in fear that they might be next.

“Hipkins needs to explain why he is failing on his promise to protect innocent victims and when we’re finally going to see action.”