COVID-19: Rapid antigen test 'black market' emerges as people stockpile from testing stations

Be a good rat, not a hood rat. 

That's the message from a testing centre that's had people trying to collect multiple rapid antigen tests. 

There are concerns a sort of black market is forming as people stockpile to sell. 

Being given a RAT to take from the comfort of your home is quick and for some a little too easy.

"What we are seeing is a couple of unusual behaviours we've got to try and stop and that is people trying to drive through two or three times to pick up supplies," Te Whanau o Waipareira CEO John Tamihere says.

Supplies that possibly aren't for themselves. 

"Pandemics bring out wartime behaviour and people gouge, it's just the little fella gets gouged," Tamihere says.

Te Whanau o Waipareira issued a reminder on Facebook to stop this behaviour.

"OK kinda can't keep coming around the corner for another round of rats!" 

Attempting to drive by 3x for Rats then tagging your mates to pick up some so you can then sell around the corner is not the one," the post said. "We do need to make sure our vulnerable whānau don't miss out."

"Be a good rat ... Not a hood rat!!" 

"So when you're having to pay $6 for a test and when you come here and get it for free of course there's gonna be a number of people trying to game the system," Tamihere says.

Unofficial RAT sellers who have stockpiled are now popping up on Facebook Marketplace.

It's a black market some say could have been avoided. 

"There's no doubt RATs should have been deployed over a year ago that would've quietened the crowd," Tamihere says.

"That's a function of supply and demand and gets you back to what we've been raising for months now, that we just don't have the availability of rapid antigen tests or the levels that we should have," National Party leader Christopher Luxon said.

But apparently, that's not the case. 

"We have 9.3 million tests in stock, 8.8 million dispatched in the last seven days and almost 100 million coming in," NRHCC chief clinical officer Andrew Old said.

However, some pharmacies are still waiting patiently.

"It's been very, very slow we've had orders that we placed in January that are still not here," Pharmacist Annabel Turley says.

RATs continue to be the latest hot commodity, it's just about encouraging people to not take advantage of the system.