8 Apr 2020

Countdown gives DHB masks, but loses flu jab priority

From Checkpoint, 6:28 pm on 8 April 2020

There has been a u-turn on providing supermarket workers with a priority flu jab, and no explanation, Countdown's Kiri Hannifin told Checkpoint.

"I'm pretty sad to report that there appears to have been a u-turn in the original decision to prioritise supermarket workers... which is obviously very disappointing for my team," Hannfin said.

Countdown staff had been told they were on the priority list for the flu jab. 

"We are really on the front line. Last week we served nearly two million people in our stores. We don't want to get sick, we want to continue to be able to work... I haven't yet been able to get any clarification as to why [the change was made]," Hannifin said. 

She said she was not advised of the change, but it was seen in a government media briefing this week.

She had been seeking, via official channels, clarification as to why the change was made and said she was "pretty upset" about it.

Hannifin said her workers were "pretty hardy", but disappointed.

It comes as Countdown supplied 200,000 masks to Auckland DHB on today.

"We chartered a plane and got some stock in last week for our team... But we were approached today by the DHB via Ministry of Health to loan them some masks. I was delighted to help them out." 

In addition, Countdown was on Thursday receiving its bigger-ever shipment of fruit and vegetables.

"Bigger than Christmas," Hannafin said.

"It's 20 percent bigger than Christmas ... it means a couple of things. It means our amazing growers have done an incredible job to get fresh fruit and veges out to New Zealanders over the weekend ... Also it means that we have amazing prices.

"This week the prices are 6 percent better than last year for produce."

That's based on a comparative basket of produce.