Kiwis are sharing scenes of stockpiling and shortages from supermarkets across the country, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urging the country to plan but not panic.
Since New Zealand's first case of coronavirus was confirmed on February 28, supermarkets have seen huge demands for items such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser and bottled water – despite official advice against panic buying.
This morning at the Pak'nSave supermarket in the Auckland supermarket of Royal Oak, queues could be seen reaching out into the car park.
A line to enter Royal Oak Pak'nSave in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Herald reader Shaun Murray shared this photo of shoppers who had trolleys stacked high with toilet paper and bottled water at Pak'nSave Pukekohe this morning.
Murray, who was doing a small shop, told the Herald he thought the couple might be buying for retail and said that 70 per cent of shoppers were shopping normally, describing the others as "a few crazies".
He said his wife had asked him to pick up some Bolognese sauce, but he was lucky to come away with any at all after a woman in front of him cleared out a shelf's worth of the Italian staple.
He said the couple's actions raised the ire of some of their fellow shoppers, but Murray told the Herald that it was up to the supermarket to decide if they had enough supply to permit bulk purchases.
Murray, a dairy farmer, said that Kiwis shouldn't panic because we will "always have food available, whatever happens".
Users on Reddit have been sharing photographs of empty freezers and bread aisles, highlighting the now regular sight across the country.
Shoppers in Devonport appeared to be big on bread, not so much on beer. Photo / Reddit/LilChopCone
Reddit user LilChopCone shared a split photo showing beer shelves full and bread shelves empty at a supermarket in Devonport, joking that "people are fighting over the last loaf of bread, while I take my sweet time to carefully choose the right craft beer".
At Pak'nSave in Botany earlier this week, freezers full of frozen food were empty by 1.30pm in the afternoon, a few orphaned fish fingers seen lying in the bottom.
Empty freezers. Photo / Reddit/JSKiwi
Below the photo, another Reddit user shared their frustration.
"Lower income family with three under 5s here," they wrote.
"Anxiety is through the roof just trying to get basic week to week essentials so our kids have food. Our supermarket yesterday was completely out of bread and cheese [as well as bloody everything else] so our toddlers aren't very pleased today.
"We live in a wealthy town. The rich are just stockpiling and it makes me so damn angry. We're not even the worst off - I really worry for the vulnerable at the moment."
When cases of coronavirus rose sharply yesterday, Ardern delivered a blunt message to the nation.
Issuing a stern caution about a possible outbreak of Covid-19, Ardern said New Zealanders needed to plan for scenarios such as working from home and self-isolating, and to cancel all non-essential travel.
"This is not a time for panic. It is a time for preparation. I ask everyone that they think about that for them and their family," Ardern told reporters.