19 Aug 2021

Grocery shortages reported at Dunedin supermarkets on day two of alert level 4 lockdown

4:28 pm on 19 August 2021

Grocery shortages are starting to bite at some supermarkets in Dunedin.

Empty shelves at Mailer Street Countdown in Dunedin.

Empty shelves at Mailer Street Countdown in Dunedin. Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

RNZ has heard reports of toilet paper being cleaned out at some supermarkets and has verified that is the case at Countdown Mailer Street, while bread stocks have taken a hit at Countdown Dunedin South.

Shopper behaviour witnessed by RNZ is not problematic and cannot be described as panic-buying, so it is unclear why stocks of some essentials have been so hard hit.

There are queues at many of the city's larger supermarkets, but all are operating under reduced capacity limits.

Plenty of toilet paper at Countdown Dunedin South, but bread is cleaned out.

Plenty of toilet paper at Countdown Dunedin South, but bread is cleaned out. Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

Countdown would not address specific product shortages, saying "this tends not to be helpful", but a statement attributed to Countdown corporate affairs, safety and sustainability general manager Kiri Hannifin said they were working to fill gaps.

"We're really proud of the way our team has dealt with the increased demand we've seen in stores over the last 48 hours," the statement said.

"There will be a few gaps on shelves, but our store and supply chain teams are working to quickly reorder and restock what is needed and we've had huge support from our transport carriers and suppliers to help get food around the country quickly for our customers."

Foodstuffs head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird said there was plenty of product to go around.

"Toilet paper, like all essential items, is in good supply as long as customers #shopnormal and don't stockpile which puts undue stress on the supply chain network.

"Our ask of customers continues to be shop as you would normally shop - this is the best way to ensure there is enough to go round."

This is an official Covid-19 ALERT.

All of New Zealand is now at Covid-19 alert level 4.

The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland & Coromandel Peninsula which is likely to remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.

A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.

Stay at home where possible & follow the Alert Level 4 guidelines. This will stop the spread of Covid-19 and SAVE LIVES.

Everyone is asked to:

Wear a mask and keep a 2 metre distance from others whenever you leave your home.

If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice about getting tested.

Keep on scanning QR codes whenever you leave your home.

Practice good hygiene - wash hands often.

Services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics & petrol stations will stay open at Alert Level 4. Face coverings are mandatory for all people - both employees and customers - at businesses and services operating at Alert Level 4 involving customer contact.

For more information on Alert Level 4 go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]


RNZ is the statutory Lifeline Utility responsible for radio broadcasting under the Emergency Management Act 2002 and it has a memorandum of understanding with Government which has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic. RNZ's Lifeline Utility obligations do not affect our editorial independence as a public media organisation or the rigour of our news gathering and reporting operations.

As New Zealand's Lifeline Utility radio broadcaster, RNZ is required to maintain essential public information channels and news during times of national emergency and we are committed to supporting all New Zealanders.

We are also committed to looking after the health and well-being of our staff.

RNZ will continue to provide essential information services - broadcasting and publishing critical public service announcements on air, on our website and via social media channels. Comprehensive news will be available on air and via our website and digital services.

If necessary RNZ Concert and RNZ Pacific will carry news and information from RNZ National. Parliament will continue to be broadcast on the AM network when the House is sitting. As the country's public service media organisation, RNZ is committed to supporting all New Zealanders.

Kia Kaha - Stay Strong

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs