A Ponsonby retailer has revealed why National leader Judith Collins and her entourage were ordered out of the store - and says staff are now copping an online backlash.
It was the stuff of election campaign nightmares yesterday when Collins - with the media in tow - was told not to enter an Auckland optometrist.
The Ponsonby store, Oscar Wylee, explained today that the refusal was not political but down to the size of the group. And staff did not want to be on TV.
"I don't want to politicise it in any way," an Oscar Wylee spokesman told the Herald.
"The whole reason was because there was a big crowd and we didn't want to be on TV."
The incident made headlines yesterday when, while on a walkabout on Ponsonby Rd, the National Party leader tried to enter their shop.
It was also suggested that National had stacked the Ponsonby Rd walkabout with party supporters.
As she tried to sign in on the Covid-19 app, staff inside told her "no, we don't want you in here", before giving the Opposition leader the thumbs down.
Collins simply brushed the incident off and blamed the media pack with her at the time.
Put to the spokesman that a staff member told at least one media outlet yesterday that they did not support National, he said the company as a whole did not hold that view.
"We don't hold any allegiance to any political party," he said.
Since the incident, the store has faced a huge backlash online, particularly on social media, where some National supporters have called for a boycott on the business.
On the store's Facebook page, one man commented: "Message is out already, telling National supporters not to use Oscar Wylee. Dumb move Oscar!"
While another person wrote: "Everyone needs to promote this place. The lady that gave Judas (sic) Collins 2 thumbs down deserves a medal."
The Oscar Wylee spokesman confirmed they had been facing a number of calls from people upset about the incident - but also a lot of support from members of the public who support other political parties.
A lot of that positive feedback was coming from Labour supporters, he said.
"We've had a barrage of negative comments, cancelled bookings and bad Google reviews, which is really uncalled for," he said.
"But that's social media these days."