Foodstuffs will consult its 400 owner operators this morning over whether they want to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated she is keen on supermarkets opening on those days that they were traditionally not allowed to so as to give New Zealanders maximum access to food and essential supplies.

Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quinn told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning that it would take the feedback from its Pak n Save, New World and Four Square owners back to government but would work with "whatever government needed."

He said under the new alert level four restrictions it was getting fewer people through its supermarkets because of the two-metre distancing required but people in the main were being good about it.

Advertisement

"We are seeing generally wonderful behaviour from people and people getting it and wanting to help each other," said Quinn.

"We are trying to help each other as much as possible to know when we are busy to know what is going on and to come in and shop as easy as they can."

But he said many of the supermarkets were still catching up on stock issues caused by panic buyers ahead of the lock-down.

"We are still in catch-up but we are starting to look better in terms of stores being full and people being able to breathe a little bit.

"But of course a lot more people are required now to do some of the normal tasks."

Quinn said over the last five weeks the cooperative had hired 1000 new people and it was also looking at ways to meet changing demands with the desire for delivery growing.

Currently, its New World stores offer delivery but Pak n Save does not.

Quinn hinted that could change.

"There is no doubt people are respecting the self-isolation rules and also what makes them comfortable and would prefer more delivery.

Advertisement

"We are working hard with our technology and our operations with a number of really interesting partners as businesses change and things we used to do are stopped and capacity becomes available and it is starting to turn up as an option for our stores."

But he denied that specials had disappeared and said hand on heart the supermarkets were not price gouging.

"One of the things we are very focused on, from about five weeks ago this was both a medical event and an economic event and one of the things we are really clear on is New Zealanders are going through different economic outcomes of this and we need to make sure the value in our supermarkets is held."

Quinn said Pak n Save remained the lowest cost supermarket.

At New World he said normally customers would buy about 45 per cent of their products on special but only in the last week did that drop to 40 per cent because of lower stock levels.

"Normally have 5000 products on promotion this week it's 4800 because have got a few products just not available - we don't put on special products we can't supply."

He said his daily reports showed the prices for an average basked of items had changed very little over the last five weeks.

"Hand on heart no price gouging."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website