“Workers on the frontline are facing an increasingly violent New Zealand. It’s time to take an approach that puts victims first, so New Zealand’s shopkeepers, taxi and bus drivers, security guards, small retailers and other frontline workers can operate without fear.

“The frequency and intensity of retail crime is on the rise. We see shocking images of workers being assaulted in the media every day. Dairy owners and other small retailers are now putting themselves inside cages so criminals can’t get behind the counter. There is no place for this kind of senseless violence in New Zealand, the law needs to reflect this.

“It’s time we sent a message to New Zealand that crime will be punished, that criminals can’t get away with committing senseless violent acts on people trying to earn a living, and that victims are at the heart of the justice system.”

ACT would:

  • Amend the Sentencing Act 2002 so that judges must take into account the fact that a serious violent offence occurred against a worker during their course of work as an aggravating factor. That means if a victim suffered a serious violent crime in their workplace or during the course of their work, a judge will be able to hand down a longer sentence. Particular regard should be taken if the worker and/or their family was particularly vulnerable, for example if they were working alone, or had an adjoining home.

“When businesses decide it is too dangerous to keep their doors open at night, or a taxi driver avoids certain routes, or bus drivers quit because the level of abuse isn’t worth it, everyone is worse off. We need to stop this senseless violence or entire communities will feel the consequences.

“For small businesses, their workplace is like a second home. New Zealanders deserve to feel safe at their place of work, just as they should feel safe in their home.”

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