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MEDIA RELEASE 25 August 2021

Coffee sales “flip-flop” has MTA boiling

The overnight discovery that the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment amended the rules this week to prevent Service Stations selling hot beverages and bakery goods has the Motor Trade Association (MTA) on the boil.

MTA Chief Executive Craig Pomare said the rule change, which had apparently occurred at 11.59pm on Monday 23 August, had left the association and its members frustrated and confused.

“Our members are hurting right now,” Mr Pomare said.

“More than ever we’re looking to the Government and its agencies for certainty, timely communications, and some thought for what’s going on for small businesses.

“This sort of late in the day flip flop is incredibly disappointing. How are businesses meant to operate when the rules keep changing?”

Mr Pomare said the MTA’s Service Station members had been following all hygiene and social distancing requirements when selling hot beverages and unpacked food since the country went to Alert Level 4. This followed MTA seeking clarification from MBIE about this on 19 August.

“We’re alerting our members to the rule change this morning and know they’ll comply, but we also intend to contact officials today to challenge the decision,” Mr Pomare said.

“We want to understand the grounds for making this change now – a week into lockdown – and when MBIE was planning to communicate it?”

Mr Pomare said another example of poor communication and follow through by agencies was last Friday’s announcement that service station workers were now to be treated as a priority for early vaccinations as essential workers.

“We applauded that news, but in following up with the Ministry of Health and the DHBs we’ve been largely met with a communication breakdown on how service station workers can access those vaccinations.

“Again, it’s very disappointing. We want to be kind, but can we also have efficiency!”


Craig Pomare, Chief Executive