The New Zealand meat industry has been seeking clarification about which meat suppliers can operate during the pandemic lockdown.

A Christchurch butcher said it’s had offical word that it can operate its online shop. Halswell Butchery can supply meat during the Level 4 lockdown with wholesale and private deliveries three days a week.

On the other hand, Akaroa Butchery recently announced on Facebook that there would be no more deliveries. “We have just received confirmation that in addition to keeping the shop closed we are also not able to deliver to your door. Our premises must be non-operative, unless we are advised otherwise we’ll be closed for the duration of Level 4.”

“In terms of a blanket rule for our industry, we haven’t been given the green light. I think there’s a lack of clarification,” said Retail Meat NZ general manager Pippa Hawkins.

Hawkins explained that many small butchers serviced small towns with no access to a supermarket, provided halal meat, and supplied essential services like rest homes.

Halswell Butchery owner Brad Williams was not sure why his butchery was allowed to open while others were not. It was continuing essential services like supplying wholesale to rest homes.

NZ Pork chief executive, David Baines, also pointed out that there would be an animal welfare issue if butchers remained non-essential due to lack of capacity to hold surplus pigs on farms.

It is clear that more clarification is needed from the government about who can operate during the lockdown and why. These decisions should me made in consultation with leading members of the affected sector.

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