Website to report possible price-gouging launched


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is setting up a website for Kiwi to raise concerns about supermarket price rises during the coronavirus lockdown.

Officials were in daily contact with supermarkets and while there had been no confirmed reports of price-gauging, the Government has set up a reporting website.

She asked for anyone with suspicions to send through any pictures or copies of their receipts to the website.

A business legally has to have a good reason to increase prices, she said.

The decision on whether supermarkets would open over the Easter weekend would be made tomorrow.

Sick leave for essential workers was also discussed at the Cabinet meeting. Ardern said they were “urgently working” on guidance in this area.

Ardern said she was pleased by the positions of the supermarkets to not make their vulnerable workers work.

She said supermarkets were working out how to increase capacity for online deliveries.

Ardern said she would raise the issue of access to flour with the supermarket chains.

Ardern said she was concerned that supermarkets had dropped specials and said it was a time to pass on deals to consumers.

Ardern said she would raise the issue of access to flour with the supermarket chains.

Kiwi soldiers coming home from Iraq

New Zealand troops who were stationed at Camp Taji in Iraq are coming home.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark made the announcement today, saying it followed the successful conclusion of the mission at Taji to train Iraqi forces.

“New Zealand is very pleased to have fulfilled its commitment to the Iraqi Government and the Defeat-ISIS Coalition to train Iraqi Security Forces at Taji,” Peters said in a statement.

Since December New Zealand has had 45 Defence Force personnel in Taji; 28 personnel arrived back in New Zealand last week and are in isolation at the Royal New Zealand Air Force base in Auckland.

Ardern said the returning troops will go into self-isolation.

The Covid-19 outbreak didn’t accelerate their return as it was always planned to happen before June.

She acknowledged how hard it would be for troops returning home but unable to see their families for the self-isolation period.

PM’s message to those over 70

For those over 70 who insist on doing their own supermarket shopping, Ardern said: “Don’t.”

Ardern’s message for those aged over 70 was: “Reach out, don’t go out”.

How long will borders stay shut?

When asked whether the borders would stay close until there was a vaccine, Ardern said it would likely be until there is a vaccine or herd immunity which meant 95 per cent of the population had been exposed to the virus.

Herd immunity would mean thousands would die so it wasn’t an option.

‘This is not a time to bend the rules’

Ardern said the “vast majority” of New Zealanders were abiding by the lockdown rules and thanked them.

But she said some weren’t and warned police were ready to enforce the rules.

Ardern said she will keep repeating “stay home, it will save lives” until everyone had heard it.

She reiterated that thousands of New Zealanders would die if everyone didn’t stay home.

Green grocers can’t open but NZ will be able to buy heaters online
The Government hasn’t given any more thought about allowing green grocers to remain open to create more competition as it defeated the purpose of what they were attempting to achieve with the lockdown.

On other essential items, like heaters, Ardern said MBIE had worked out further guidance which would be released today.

The other essential items would be sold online to ensure it was faceless.

Ardern said the Government had already paid out $3.7b in wage subsidies for 580,000 workers.

Ardern said she was keeping an eye on what Australia was doing in response to the virus, but said the starting point for comparison was different.

She spoke with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning.

Today, director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield announced there were 76 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing the total infected to 589.

Twelve people in hospital with the infection, three are expected to soon be discharged but two are in intensive care units.

Sixty-three people have recovered.

NZ Herald