By Brendan Manning
Act Party leader Jamie Whyte. Photo / Paul Taylor
An Act Party policy that would allow shopkeepers to arm themselves
against violent robberies is a "recipe for disaster" the Prime Minister
Announcing Act's law and order policy today, party leader
Jamie Whyte said shopkeepers, especially those in Auckland, were subject
to increasingly violent robberies.
"Criminals are well aware
that shopkeepers are defenseless and are taking advantage of this in
brutal robberies. What Act proposes here should reassure the shopkeepers
of New Zealand.
Act leader Jamie Whyte at the announcement this morning. Photo / APNZ
"Act says it will not be illegal for a shopkeeper to keep a weapon in their own shop."
The possibility that a shopkeeper was armed would deter would-be offenders, Dr Whyte said.
The party would also strengthen laws relating to self-defence and introduce a dedicated home invasion law.
Whyte said he had no view on what weapons shopkeepers should arm
themselves with but believed firearms were appropriate, "if they felt
that there was sufficient threat".
The idea was dismissed by Prime Minister John Key this afternoon.
reason I think it's a bad idea is that firstly you'd be putting weapons
in the hands of people that are not trained," he said.
"Those weapons could be used [against] the very shopkeepers themselves. It's a recipe for disaster."
Zealand Association of Convenience Stores chairman Roger Bull said the
association did not support shopkeepers arming themselves.
policy has always been if there's a robbery, you comply with the
instructions of the person and you do not try to do anything quick or
sudden because you don't know the mental state [of the offender].
"You comply and get them out of the way as quick as possible."
under the Crimes Act, "Everyone is justified in using, in the defence
of himself or herself or another, such force as, in the circumstances as
he or she believes them to be, it is reasonable to use".
Association president Greg O'Connor said introducing "stand your
ground-type laws" would benefit criminals more than law-abiding
"The law is not that much of an ass, nobody in New
Zealand is going to be convicted of an offence where it is quite clear
that they were acting in self-defence.
"That doesn't happen and it's not going to happen. Really, it's not as big a problem as it's probably being made out.
dairy owners start having firearms, major issues [arise] because I
don't think New Zealanders are ready for a dairy owner to shoot a
shoplifter, but that's what will end up happening."
David Cunliffe dismissed the policy as "an extreme Tea Party-type
policy" that had no place in New Zealand society.
"We don't want vigilantes, we want a police force we can rely on."
Auckland barrister Gary Gotlieb said current self-defence
legislation was sufficient and it was questionable that such a
"populist" policy was coming out a week before the election.
Victoria University criminology lecturer Trevor Bradley said violence was not an answer to violence or the threat of violence.
Sentencing Trust spokeswoman Ruth Money said the organisation supported
a review of current self-defence legislation but didn't want to see "a
crazy increase of firearms behind every counter".
Source: The New Zealand Herald