Ponsonby store reveals why Judith Collins was refused entry

Judith Collins was refused entry into a Ponsonby optometry store.
Judith Collins was refused entry into a Ponsonby optometry store. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Ponsonby optometry store that turned away National Party leader Judith Collins has revealed the reason she was barred from entering.

Collins was out in Ponsonby on Wednesday, campaigning with Auckland Central National candidate Emma Mellow and National MP Melissa Lee.

With a group of media in tow, Collins went to sign in using the COVID-19 tracer app at optometry store Oscar Wylee - but before she could step foot in the door she was told she wasn't welcome.

"No, we don't want you here," a woman working in the store said before giving Collins a thumbs down.

A spokesperson for Oscar Wylee told NZME that the refusal was in no way political but more to do with the group of media Collins had with her.

"The whole reason was because there was a big crowd and we didn't want to be on TV."

After being told a staff member talked to reporters about their political views the spokesperson said the company as a whole didn't associate themselves with any political parties.

This aligns with Collins' view of the incident on the day, blaming the media for the embarrassing rejection.

"They didn't want the media, I don't think it's us, I think it might be you guys," Collins told reporters. 

She also didn't notice the woman gave her a thumbs down.

"Did she? I didn't notice that," she said when asked about it. 

The Oscar Wylee Ponsonby Road Facebook page has been flooded with backlash from National supporters and people who thought the incident was downright rude. 

"I certainly know where not to get my glasses from now on. Classless reaction to Judith," one user said.

"Even if you are a Labour supporter that was an appalling gesture." 

"Knowing their staff are rude to people is enough reason to give them a miss." 

Others praised the store's actions.

"Well done for turning away that total sham of a visit yesterday."

"For my next pair of glasses, I'll be coming to you. It's your store, you call the shots."

The Oscar Wylee spokesperson told NZME the store received lots of negative calls, Google reviews, social media comments, and even cancelled bookings.

They said the calls reflected the Facebook comments with a lot of negative opinions but also some positive feedback from Labour supporters.  

The Australian owned company has come under fire across the ditch recently for marketing a 'buy a pair, give a pair' charity campaign and failing to follow through with it.