Source: Federated Farmers
Federated Farmers says the government needs to reconsider and let small business fresh food sellers stay open under level 3 and, if necessary, at level 4.
“Let the little guys stay open, and sell fresh food, because it’s safer, fairer and better for small communities trying to buy local,” Feds president Andrew Hoggard says.
New Zealand’s first COVID-19 lockdown rules meant butchers, bakers and greengrocers could not open as the small retailers were considered non-essential.
“This rule needs a rethink if we are to go back into a full-scale lock down,” Andrew says.
“This is for fresh food. We need to keep supply chains moving, from the paddock to the plate, not paddock to the dump, as happened last lockdown.”
The supermarkets did an incredibly good job in the first lockdown but enforcing the closure of smaller food retailers was short-sighted.
Food retailers such as butchers, bakers and greengrocers can observe distancing and hygiene rules as well as supermarkets and having them open will ease queues experienced at the bigger stores.
Having the ability to sell online is not the point, the point is the current rules don’t make sense for domestic food producers, retailers and customers keen to stay close to home and buy local.
“It’s also tough for the small stores to adapt to being online. They can’t afford the technology and the distribution systems required.”
Small fresh food retailers often have a far bigger range than many supermarkets and can tailor products for people with food intolerances better than supermarkets can.
“You are at more risk from having to spend 90 minutes at the supermarket than you are from spending five minutes at your local butcher’s shop’” Andrew says.