Mad Butcher co-owner's new 'movement' to support New Zealand owned businesses

The co-owner of the Mad Butcher has begun a new "movement" calling for Kiwis to support all New Zealand owned businesses recovering from the economic devastation of COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown.

On the evening of March 25, New Zealand entered alert level 4 lockdown, which required Kiwis to remain at their residences unless they were accessing or providing essential businesses. Initially, there was confusion about which businesses were deemed "essential", with the likes of the Mad Butcher saying they would stay open. However, after advice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Mad Butcher and other stores had to close.

Alert level 3, which began last week, hasn't been much better for many businesses. Only those that can operate with limited customer face-to-face interaction can trade, with many hospitality and retail services out-of-luck unless they offer a delivery service or some form of collection process.

The consequent economic impact has been enormous for many Kiwis, with unemployment already beginning to rise and some businesses having to close shop for good. The Government has tried to cushion this blow, however, with multiple relief schemes, such as providing more than $10 billion in wage subsidies.

Those that do get through these difficult times are calling for Kiwis to shop with New Zealand businesses instead of investing in products from overseas companies.

It has inspired Mad Butcher co-owner Michael Morton to begin a new movement called Live. Shop. Love. Local

While he said there are other movements or groups encouraging people to buy Kiwi-made products, he said all New Zealand owned businesses should be supported. He's also teamed up with artist Anna Leyland to create a unique logo which businesses can download from their website for free.

"I thought we needed a logo to sort of symbolise you are part of that movement and you also wanted to support other people who were part of that movement," Morton told The AM Show.

"There are lots of great movements out there but I think the idea of having one sort of symbol that meant you were part of this movement and you wanted to help New Zealand moved on to the next stage."

Morton said during the lockdown much of the Mad Butcher's meat had to be frozen or given charities. But his focus now is on the future. 

"That has been and gone now. We have got to move forward. Spending power is people power. We have got to be thoughtful where we spend that money. We have to go to share that love around New Zealand. If you are starting up and going back to sports, don't buy all your sports gear in one shop. Spread the shopping and love around. Go to a shoe shop, go to a racket shop," he said.

"Everybody needs a little bit of love and we've just got to be thoughtful."

Other groups are also encouraging Kiwis to shop locally. Buy NZ Made has set up its #ShopKiwi campaign, while a not-for-profit Facebook group is promoting locally-produced products.

Businesses will find out at 1pm on Thursday how they can operate once New Zealand reaches alert level 2. A decision on whether to extend or lift current restrictions will be made by the Prime Minister and her Cabinet on Monday.