A Givealittle page has been set up and a nationwide protest is planned following the death of a man who was killed while working at a Sandringham dairy on Wednesday night.
Police were called to Rose Cottage Superette shortly after 8pm after a knife-wielding offender took the cash register.
The 34-year-old victim was assaulted about 100 meters from the store shortly after. He was able to return to the dairy where emergency services were called and first aid administered, but he died shortly afterwards.
Over $12,000 has already been raised through a Givealittle page to support the victim’s wife and elderly parents.
Dairy and Business Owners Group chairman Sunny Kaushal told 1News the community is rallying around the networks to do “all we can” to support the family.
He said the family was waiting for the police to hand over the victim’s body so that funeral arrangements could be made.
Kaushal said it would most likely be held in Auckland and would be a “big” funeral.
“We are in talks with the family. It will be a very large event and a large hall will be required given the public response to it.
He said the victim’s parents had recently come to visit their son who was tending the dairy while the owners were abroad.
Kaushal said the victim’s widow was unable to speak due to shock.
“The family does not want to speak to the media and we do not want to disturb their grief.”
He said after the funeral there would be a nationwide protest urging the government to take action and protect dairy owners.
He said he would meet with stakeholders from the Dairy and Business Owners Group, which represents around 5,000 business owners, as well as community leaders and leaders from the New Zealand Indian Central Association.
“It will be a national event. Businesses will shut down for a while and send a strong message that enough is enough. We will also start a petition to demand protection for dairies owners,” Kaushal said.
“It will be after the funeral though. Our priority is to support the family and then we will take action.
He said he was disappointed that Jacinda Ardern had not stood in his electorate since the incident.
“We need action, not empathy,” he said.
“She should have mentioned the words she said on March 15 – ‘They are us,’ he said – referring to Ardern’s comments after the March 15 terrorist attacks in 2019.
“We are them,” Kaushal said.
“No matter how many lives were lost, it happened on his watch.”
Ardern was in the Chatham Islands today to announce a new grant.
She is MP for Mount Albert in Auckland, an electorate that includes Rose Hill Superette where the dairy worker died on Wednesday.
Ardern said she contacted Sandringham community leaders and other affected people yesterday.
“It’s my local community so I’ll be looking to be present there whenever I can, but I’m also very aware that there is a grieving family and there is an active police investigation into a homicide,” she said.
“I need to delicately balance being in the right place at the right time when it comes to those two issues.”
Responding to critics who say the government isn’t doing enough to support shop owners, Ardern said she would “obviously reject that”.
“We have to do everything we can to prevent these kinds of incidents and we will continue to do so, but again, in these circumstances I also have to be aware of the human beings who are also involved at this time.”
Kaushal said he received a number of personal messages from MPs after Wednesday’s attack.
“Even Foodstuffs offered support,” he said.
“Simon Bridges personally called at length saying how sorry he was. Mayor Wayne Brown also sent his condolences.
More than 100 people gathered in front of the dairy, in solidarity yesterday morning. A vigil was also held last night.
The investigation continues
The cordons around the dairy were lifted this afternoon, leaving a mass of floral tributes.
Police have thanked those who have already contacted them with information, but say they still need to hear from anyone who witnessed the altercation which happened around 100m from the dairy, or who thinks he saw the attacker on foot, before or after the incident.
They told 1News they are not yet releasing the victim’s name.
“We also continue to call on members of the community who know who the offender is to do the right thing and contact us,” Detective Inspector Scott Beard said.
The police have also set up an online portal for people to upload images.
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