Salvation Army stores left as dumping grounds during COVID-19 lockdown

The Salvation Army is asking New Zealanders to stop donating goods as their stores aren't open during the COVID-19 lockdown to collect the items.

Many of their stores have been left looking like dumping grounds as people continue to donate.

The Salvation Army National Store Manager Gareth Marshall says they love that people are willing to donate but it won't help them while the lockdown continues.

"We're grateful for the support we get from the community...but it's a frustration that's being left at the moment because we can't do anything about it."

Their New Lynn branch is no stranger to public dumping, people leave junk here all the time and it's never welcome.

But as the donations pile up, the removal is more difficult than ever.

"It is going to have to be disposed of by someone... and it needs to be done day by day so it doesn't become more of a health hazard."

Even if there is anything useful left here, the lockdown prevents the Sallies from taking it so it will go to the landfill. 

Auckland Council is now stepping in to help, but it isn't going to come cheap.

Auckland Councillor Richard Hills says: "It's a common problem across the city in normal times, but we are seeing a rise in dumping outside Salvation Armies which is really disappointing.

"There is often a huge cost to dumping that rubbish and often that cost sits with the charities we're helping so that's really unfair at a time that those charities will be finding it tough."

It's not the first time Newshub has reported dumping at Salvation Army stores, they've seen it all from soiled clothes to takeaways and faulty electronics.

But Hills says no one should be dumping items during the lockdown.

"Dumping your stuff outside other people's properties is not an essential service, so people are already breaking the lockdown. 

"We will track back as much of that waste as we can to find out who is doing it, and we've also asked for CCTV footage."

If you're currently spring cleaning your wardrobe please wait until lockdown is over to donate.