Tobacco tax hike led to more armed robberies: retailer

The Government’s decision to raise the tax on tobacco products has resulted in more armed robberies and has had little effect on smokers’ demand, a group representing retailers says.

The Association of Community Retailers (ACR) wants the Government to abandon two further tax hikes saying they will only put dairy and convenience store owners at greater risk.

Increasing the tax on tobacco only made it a more valuable commodity for criminals, Palmerston North tobacconist Richard Green said.

“Since the late April tax excise was increased on tobacco products there have been more than two robberies a week, with some retailers lucky to survive them unhurt,” Mr Green said.

“It is only a matter of time before a retailer is seriously hurt, or worse – killed.”

The tax increase had also failed to meet the Maori Party’s aim of reducing the numbers of people smoking, he said.

“Sales in my shop are back to what they were before the tax hike,” Mr Green said.

Mr Green had more than $9000 worth of tobacco products stolen from his store since April after a break in.


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