A 70-year-old Auckland man says he has fears for the health of the elderly population after discovering he has to endure a month-long wait for his online order of groceries.

As Kiwis settle in to their first day in the alert level 4 shutdown, along with the stricter conditions of being in a national state of emergency, many online shoppers are getting concerned at the continuing delays.

Covid-19 coronavirus: Over 70s urged to stay home
Coronavirus: PM Jacinda Ardern outlines NZ's new alert system, over-70s should stay at home
Coronavirus: Queen defies government's over 70s self-isolation advice
Coronavirus: 500,000 New Zealanders told to stay home

The country is self-isolating for at least four weeks as Covid-19 infection rates continue to escalate and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urges Kiwis to stick to their bubble; stay at home and stop the spread of the virus.


The struggle to keep up with online orders mirrors the supermarkets' struggle to keep up with the demand created by Kiwis who, despite advice, are not shopping normally.

It's led to Countdown stopping its weekly specials this week, stating it didn't have enough product available to keep up with the unprecedented demand.

The supermarket giant routinely offers a large number of grocery items at discounted prices each week but today told the Herald it was getting fewer supplies of some products at the same time as the demand from shoppers was tripling.

Auckland man Cobus van der Walt said he and his wife went into self-isolation early and had been using Countdown's online service.

After receiving their first order last week, which arrived five days later, they discovered it was missing several key items, including meat, long-life milk and sugar.

He then went to place another order online and said there were no spare dates in the calendar until another four weeks.

He then tried New World's delivery service and got a similar result.

"If you try to buy food now, it's just out for the next four weeks or three weeks, you can't even place your order. I checked yesterday and for two weeks it just totally closed and you can't even open the calendar any further forward.


"Then I tried New World and the same there; New World is fully booked out for the next two weeks for deliveries.

"They don't have the people to do it obviously, but from where I'm coming from, the Government said they were going to look after the over-70s, don't leave their houses, but these guys have got no choice, they're going to have to leave their houses.

"There's just no option available for them to stay in their houses. I had a look at the Foodbank yesterday as well but that's for charity. But really, I'm in a bad space here.

"We've got no meat, milk sugar, all the stuff that you need to make food with and that's the stuff that's sold out. You can't get long-life milk. You can't go out and buy milk every second day, so you have to buy long-life milk and they only limit you to two.

"Imagine you order something this week you get it next week and only get two. It doesn't work for us."

Van der Walt said he would have to leave his house. Their daughter could grab a couple of items for them, but she also had her own family to shop for.

"She won't be able to complete our requirement of shopping, it's impossible.

"What worries me is, okay I'm 70, I'm mobile ... but there's a lot of elderly people in real trouble now I think and I don't know how long this is going to take before it escalates into something really bad for them ... they're going to starve.

"Some of them won't be able to leave. The Government has to put some aid into the food outlets."

Antoinette Laird, Head of Corporate Affairs, Foodstuffs NZ, said over the past few weeks they had seen a "sharp increase for the demand of our online services".

"Our stores are working around the clock to ensure that we are keeping up with our online orders, and behind the scenes our teams are working hard to find innovative ways in which we can increase our online capacity."

The Herald has contacted Countdown for comment.

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