Shoppers formed long queues at supermarkets around Hawke's Bay before opening times yesterday and today, going against all advice not to do so.

A security guard could be seen keeping the peace outside Countdown Hastings this morning as the line to get in stretched into the carpark before 9am.

In the Prime Minister's public address yesterday she urged the public to "shop normally" and think of fellow New Zealanders who also need essential items but could not rush to the shops.


On Friday Countdown made the decision to place a temporary limit of two similar items per customer per shopping visit across its stores and online shopping service, with the exception of the produce and serviced deli sections.

It is also changing its store hours and online shopping services to trade from 9am to 8pm across the country.

"We realise this may be frustrating or inconvenient for some customers but we have to provide our teams with the time and ability to get as much product on-shelf as possible during this time of extraordinary and unprecedented demand," a company statement said.

Countdown reiterated their Friday message from managing director Natalie Davis that Countdown is not running out of food.

"We have plenty of food in our supply chain, however we simply cannot get it through the network fast enough if Kiwis don't slow down their shopping. This is the only way we can try to manage demand.

"We have every truck on the road possible, and every team member possible working to support our stores and online services, and we're hiring more.

"Every truck that has to go out full of toilet paper means regular supermarket supplies can't get through.

"We're also working on ways to ensure customers who need a bit more assistance can get the help they need in our stores and online.


"We would ask all our customers to continue to be kind, consider others and consider what you've got in your pantry already.

"Our teams continue to work tirelessly under difficult circumstances, so we ask that they are treated kindly and respectfully. We thank our customers for their continued patience and support as together we work through these challenging times together," Davis said.

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