Jacinda Ardern 'aware of' issues for people accessing halal meat

Jacinda Ardern has addressed concerns people can't access halal meat due to the Government's ban on butchers.

Halal meat is products prepared in a way which complies with Islamic law. But on Wednesday butchers were told they didn't count as an essential service, leaving New Zealand Muslims concerned they won't be able to buy meat as it's not always stocked in supermarkets.

The Prime Minister says it's an issue the Government is "aware of and are working on".

"We are aware of the issue around halal... we have had a team looking at ways that we can ensure the ongoing access to halal, while still maintaining our goal of having as few people who are in contact with one another through being in the workforce as possible," she said at her media stand-up on Sunday.

"There have been questions over whether or not there is a way to maintain halal certification while still making it available within a supermarket environment.

"I certainly do not have the expertise to make that judgement but there are options that are being looked at as we speak."

Impact on butchers

The closure of non-essential services has hit many butchers hard. Mike Hanson of Netherby Meats had stocked up for the lockdown but instead of it being sold to customers, it will now have to be given away or thrown out.

"In the back chiller - we've probably got four or five beasts for the shop and 30 hoggets to put somewhere, and the freezer is not big enough to store all of this," he told Newshub on Thursday.

Right next door to his butcher, a dairy is open for business as usual. 

"They're selling smokes and coke and fizzy drinks - and what are they doing open?"