Opinion | Customer Limits Must Go On Now

Omicron is coming, and when it arrives, it will spread quickly. If you can afford it, it will pay to stock up a bit. There will be thousands of close contacts a day. 

— Trevor Mallard (@SpeakerTrevor), Twitter 20 Jan, 2022

Speaker Trevor Mallard is urging Kiwi’s to stock up as Omicron is coming. This is a scare tactic that, unless managed well, will see food shortages and the out of stocks already being felt worsen very quickly.

Retailers need to action customer limits now, not wait until Omicron hits. When you have the Government promoting stockpiling, this is totally different messaging than previous community transmissions in 2020 and 2021.

Whatever happened to “be kind”, “shop normally”. Obviously, it is now every man (or woman) for themselves. Not everyone has the luxury of a bank balance that allows for bulk buying. While Kiwi’s should be prepared as well as they can, messages like Mallard's must be tempered as those already marginalised don’t have the privilege of stocking up. They’re just trying to survive week to week.

When the leadership is fearful, it doesn’t inspire confidence, and the one thing above all else that we need right now is informed, confident, capable leadership. Telling me to run out and stock up doesn’t inspire confidence that the Government has a plan; it screams “run for the hills”.

Tania Walters, Managing Editor