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The Govern­ment re­cently pledged $1.8m to ramp up se­cu­rity for dairy own­ers and small busi­nesses bat­tling a spate of ag­gra­vated rob­beries.

There are in­creas­ing in­ci­dents of thugs en­ter­ing shops bran­dish­ing base­ball bats, knives, ma­chetes or axes, beat­ing up staff and mak­ing off with what­ever they please. In most cases it’s cig­a­rettes. Why? Be­cause peo­ple can’t af­ford them any­more.

A pack of 20 cig­gies is now $21 to $27 mak­ing it a $147 to $189 a week habit. They’re highly ad­dic­tive, driv­ing some peo­ple to take des­per­ate mea­sures. Yet the Govern­ment keeps hik­ing prices in a bid to meet its tar­get of a smoke-free NZ by 2025.

I think prices should be kept down to make it safer for shop keep­ers. Peo­ple will grad­u­ally stop smok­ing any­way - young peo­ple to­day know it’s bad for your health and wal­let. There are lots of things peo­ple are ad­dicted to...sugar, gam­bling, food, al­co­hol, so­cial me­dia .... Why pun­ish the smok­ers and dairy own­ers?

- Jenny

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