Dunedin supermarket stabbing: Hospitalised Countdown staff 'doing okay'

The Countdown staff who were hospitalised after an alleged stabbing attack at a Dunedin supermarket are in an 'okay' condition, the company says.

Three people were critically injured and one seriously injured during the attack at the supermarket on Cumberland Street around 2:30pm on Monday afternoon.

Two Countdown supermarket employees were amongst those injured and on Tuesday Countdown general manager of corporate affairs Kiri Hannifin confirmed they are doing okay.

"The two team members who are in hospital are okay. I am pleased to be able to say that. We were very worried about them overnight but they are doing okay," she told The AM Show.

She said Countdown staff around New Zealand are "devastated" by the incident, which appeared to be a "random attack" on a Countdown staff member.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Monday there was nothing to suggest the incident was a domestic terror attack.

Hannifin told The AM Show she had seen footage from inside the store during the stabbing which showed a man had lashed out at the staff member.

"Another team member went to help and then these amazing customers and bystanders went in to help both of our team members and were injured in the process. 

"[It was] an incredibly shocking incident and immense bravery by a lot of people to look after our team. Thank you for that courage - it's overwhelming. Extremely chaotic and senseless event." 

She described the bystanders who helped as "heroes".

"You don't come shopping in our business to save lives, but that's what happened yesterday.   You don't come to work to get stabbed, but that's what happened yesterday."

Police confirmed on Tuesday the 42-year-old suspect has since been charged with four counts of attempted murder. He will appear in Dunedin District Court on Tuesday.

Countdown is now considering bringing in body cameras to protect workers from potential harm - which Hannafin said had increased over the past year.

"Right throughout NZ we have seen an increasing frequency of abuse and assaults and threats in our stores but also increasing severity… It's been a hell of a year for our team not just with COVID and the COVID-19 incidents in our stores but also the abuse they are receiving while providing an essential service."

They have already been implemented in some Australian supermarkets which have been successful so far.