“Even after the tragic death in Sandringham, the Government continues to drag its feet around changing the criteria for the retail crime prevention fund,” says ACT’s Police spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“I asked Police Minister Chris Hipkins in Parliament whether the Government would finally fix the criteria in light of the tragedy. He admitted he didn’t know why the dairy hadn’t been helped, but there are no plans to change the criteria.

“This awful incident should have been a turning point for the Government to take retail crime seriously. Instead it is proof that they’re not prepared to do what’s necessary to keep New Zealanders safe.

“The Minister not even being able to explain why the shop at the heart of the incident hadn’t been helped shows just how ineffective the fund is. There needs to be urgent change to ensure retail employees and business owners feel safe at work.

"We have challenged the Government to expedite the fund, particularly after someone who sought and didn't get help from it was robbed. Instead of continuing at a glacial pace it needs to be sized up and expedited.

“We have called on the Government to get tough, and smart on the epidemic of retail crime that followed the epidemic of COVID-19. We have proposed idea after idea to try and get on top of the ram raids and the robberies, but the Government has barely listened, if at all.

“The Government needs to show a clear pathway of consequences for young offenders, from instant practical penalties as proposed by ACT, to ankle bracelets for offenders, to secure facilities to keep offenders in if they do not comply with earlier sanctions. It then needs to get them back to school or employment.

“It should never have got this far and the Government must now act to ensure it does not happen again."

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Chris Baillie