COVID-19: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cracking down on price gouging during lockdown

The Prime Minister is urging any Kiwis who see evidence of price gouging during the COVID-19 second lockdown to report it.

It comes as there were unconfirmed reports of price gouging - particularly around masks and hand sanitiser - now that Auckland is in alert level 3 and the rest of New Zealand in level 2.

Jacinda Ardern says both masks and hand sanitiser have been added to PriceWatch, a website that monitors price gouging.

While she would be "very surprised" if prices were being intentionally raised, New Zealanders can visit to officially complain.

"I would be very surprised if that was happening in some of our supermarkets, because some of them are getting their supply from government. We released two million masks into Countdown," she said on Thursday.

"We are asking people to report in if you're seeing any of that - we are keeping a close eye on it."

She says fairness is needed and people shouldn't try to capitalise on the situation we are in.

It isn't the first time Ardern has urged the public to report price gouging. Back in March when the first lockdown came into effect, some supermarkets allegedly increased the prices on fresh produce and meat, which prompted the Government to set up the email address for complaints.

She said at the time that while it isn't illegal for businesses to increase their prices, the Fair Trading Act "prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct and false representation".

She added that means if a business gives a reason for a price increase, it must be true, otherwise the business risks breaching the Fair Trading Act.

When the complaints email was first set up in March, nearly 1000 people in just two days reported instances of price gouging, MBIE said at the time.