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Retail Meat Industry Urgently Needs Clarification On Essential Services

The retail meat industry is asking for urgent clarification from the government regarding the status of independent butcher stores and their classification as an ‘essential service’. There is significant confusion amongst our members who simply want to do the best thing to help fight the spread whilst ensuring our communities are fed.

Recommendations from the government helpline stated that the covid19.govt.nz website is the best source of information regarding ‘essential services’ and currently states – as of 8pm last night – that: Any entity involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people.

However, Paul Stocks – Deputy CEO of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) – stated this morning on Newstalk ZB that butcheries and produce stores would not be considered an ‘essential service’.

Other factors that need to be considered include:

  • Will independent butcheries who currently supply rest homes be able to continue to operate to ensure the elderly are kept in supply?
  • Some independent butcheries supply halal certified meat to the Islamic community, will consumers be able to continue to buy halal meat?
  • Will small communities and towns without access to supermarkets still be able to buy from their local butchery?

This urgent request to the government is to provide the industry with clear guidelines on which stores can and cannot open past midnight tonight.

If anyone from government would like to speak to Retail Meat New Zealand, please contact Rod Slater on 021 940 442. We will then be able to pass on clear instructions to our members quickly and efficiently.

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