Ethnic communities shut out of speciality grocery stores

We would like the Government to revisit the decision to close ethnic grocery stores so that our communities will not struggle with access to supplies during this lockdown, National’s spokesperson for Ethnic Communities Melissa Lee says. 


“Many New Zealanders come from different cultural backgrounds. They rely on specialist supermarkets for the ingredients they need to cook traditional meals.


“The next four weeks will be unsettling enough for many people, we should be providing everyone with the goods they need to keep life as normal as possible.


“Our ethnic communities should have at the very least been warned about the closure of these stores prior to the Level 4 lockdown. Instead, they were left in the dark.


“We want to be able to eat food we find comfort in, but without access to our ethnic grocery stores, this becomes extremely difficult. Especially the senior members of our communities who may find it more difficult to adjust to not being able to have their usual ethnic cuisine.


“Supermarkets do offer an international section but this is usually a very limited selection, and typically will not have the required items available.


“New Zealand is a country that prides itself on its diversity. At unprecedented times like this it is important that the Government does all it can to provide New Zealanders with certainty. This will not be achieved through closing doors of ethnic grocery stores to people who solely depend on these stores for food supply.


“Our ethnic communities play a huge part in shaping New Zealand. Ethnic supermarkets are an essential part of our day to day lives, they should remain open during the lockdown. The Government needs to reconsider its decision.”