Butchers plead with government

Tauranga butcher Doug Jarvis. Currently under Alert Level 4, independent butchers are only allowed to operate contactless deliveries. Photo: Supplied.

Butchers across the country are urging the government to allow them to reopen under strict Covid protocol and serve their communities.


Currently under Alert Level 4, independent butchers are only allowed to operate contactless deliveries – a position not viable for many operators.


Tauranga butcher Doug Jarvis who has built up a strong following through word of mouth, social media and return customers, is providing an online ordering service during Level 4, after having to close both his Papamoa and Owens Place stores.


“Well we are here again in lockdown and it seems that this won’t end anytime soon,” says Doug.


“We have been doing our contactless deliveries over the last couple of days. Please don’t select store pickup as pickup on Level 4 is not an option I’m afraid…we will bring it to you.”


“We have an online service with contactless deliveries. Orders placed before 11am will be same day delivery while orders received after 11am will be delivered the next day,” says Doug.


“We also supply hospitals, retirement villages and rest homes. We have been here before last year so we are pretty good at it. I have limited staff on board due to distance regulations and all hygiene standards  are to be achieved. It’s a bit of a struggle but we are couriering all over the North Island at the moment, and local deliveries from Te Puke to Bethlehem.”


Doug’s deliveries to Papamoa and Mount Maunganui are free, with a small fee charged to other local areas. He is unable to provide a courier service to rural addresses or to the South Island.


For other butchers, operating contactless deliveries is just not viable. Compounding the issue is that supermarkets are under increasing pressure, not just from record concentration of customers needing to source their essential supplies but for many supermarkets, they are a location of interest forcing many of their staff into isolation and some stores even shutting.


Reuben Sharples, from the Aussie Butcher New Lynn, is one such butcher who is seeing his community under siege from multiple locations of interest, but is virtually powerless to help them.


“New Lynn and Green Bay are doing it tough right now, with Delta rife in our community, many are feeling vulnerable and exposed. Coupled with that is our only local amenities are under immense pressure to keep their head above water – you know I really feel for them. I have reached out to our local supermarket to offer assistance in any way I can, but the best thing I could be doing right now is to get my shop operational.


“Where my store is based, we have a really great produce shop, fishmonger and bakery next door, all of whom could be servicing the community from their front door; outdoors, safely and socially distanced. It seems madness that the government is going to continue to force Kiwis back into supermarkets when we know Delta is so deadly indoors.”


Kit Arkwright, from Retail Meat New Zealand – the membership body for Kiwi butchers – is imploring the government to change their stance as soon as possible to give retailers a chance of survival.


“The reality for many of our members is an extended lockdown could sign the death sentence for their businesses,” says Kit. “The losses many of them suffered during last years’ lockdown and a wage subsidy that – although greatly appreciated – is only a sticking plaster, we could see an eventuality where many of them don’t open up again. The government has to consider the long term impacts this will have on food security, particularly for rural and regional communities that rely on their local butcher to keep them fed.


“Our members acknowledge that the whole country is feeling the impacts of this latest lockdown, but know they can do their part to keep Kiwis fed at a time of national crisis.”


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@ Kancho

Posted on 25-08-2021 17:00 | By morepork

I agree with you about lawn mowers and gardeners. They pose no risk to anyone, that I can see. Anyone who CAN ply their trade without risk of spreading Covid, SHOULD be allowed to, in my opinion. I believe you are right and it is more about standardizing a procedure for the convenience of Administration, than it is for Covid safety. (I’ve also been thinking about your dilemma with drug funding; when we have Covid cracked, this needs to be addressed with much higher priority than appears to be the case. If we can’t take care of our people, then we really aren’t much of a Nation...)

Lazy thinking

Posted on 23-08-2021 20:07 | By Kancho

It is quite clear that a lot more people could be working but like GST it’s easier the government have only one rule. Why can unvaccinated youngsters serve at a till selling groceries and even non essentials but other shops can’t ? Pick up pre orders etc . So In the meantime small business out their hand out for assistance or go to the brink or fail. Why can’t lawn mowing contractors working on their own mow lawns , no exchange required just payment , money in the letter box or on line . My garden helper can’t work in my garden ? Many other examples but no they have to suffer it seems.

It's tough.

Posted on 22-08-2021 12:51 | By morepork

And good points are being raised by most posters here. Dennor is right about competing with Supermarkets, and small businesses SHOULD get a better deal. Slim and Hapukafin raise a valid point about the costs and how much better the money COULD be spent. I think the Government would probably defend their position by saying they are trying to protect ALL NZers, and not just a part of the community. The objection to small businesses would be on the grounds that it is easier to monitor, manage, and ensure compliance for just the Supermarkets (and essential services) than to try and do that for the entire commercial community. Nevertheless, I can understand how Hapukafin is feeling when he sees money being burned, but gets no relief. Eventually, we will come through this and then we can address the colossal debt incurred...(We repaid 30 billion for Chch earthquake; it’s doable...)

our govt saving Kiwis

Posted on 22-08-2021 08:33 | By hapukafin

Slim Shady count me one of those with terminal cancer,been dicharged from oncology to fend for myself.Pharmac hs the drug but I have to self fund it,so Im left to die slowly with no quality life,.Why cant butchers and fruiterers have the same lockdown program as dairies?


Posted on 22-08-2021 08:27 | By

Purveyors of dead animals are now enemies of the State. Much safer to shop at the dairy and stock up on overpriced chips and biscuits.

Loony left

Posted on 22-08-2021 07:32 | By

They are quite happy to burn through $2 billion a week, heaping debt on future generations and watching businesses go bust, but cannot find $400 million for Cancer drugs that could save hundreds of lives. That’s just one days money they’re burning each day with this bullshit. The zero Covid obsession is just a badge of honour. Something for Cindy to wear at the UN. Nobody will ask about the inter generational debt, the fall in living standard, the businesses lost, the raised pension age, the rise in poverty. Just print some more money.


Posted on 22-08-2021 06:09 | By dennor

On one hand this inept government wants more competition for the supermarket sector and on the other will not let butchers etc open in level 4. Soon there will be NO BLOODY competition just supermarkets. I believe I am of reasonable intelligence but I would think that a supermarket would be more of a superspreader than butchers, greengrocers, bakeries. Why the hell can a dairy be open as they are mostly cramped with their counters full of junk and not the aforementioned. An absolute sham!!

Govt gone mad

Posted on 21-08-2021 18:10 | By

We should NOT be blocking butchers and small business. There is no less safety going to the butcher, possibly MORE since we would have less people !!!!!!!!!!!!