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Butchers across New Zealand were initially deemed not to be an essential service during the nationwide lockdown and forced to shut.

Although they were later allowed to process pork for supply to retailers and to subsequently open under level 3 in a way that avoided face-to-face contact, there were fears their closure would lead to an animal welfare crisis due to a lack of capacity to hold surplus pigs.

The closure of butchers resulted in a surplus of around 5000 pigs every week on farms across the country.

But the Government announced in last weeks budget that $14.9 million has been set aside to buy pork at cost from wholesalers and then deliver it to food banks across the country via the network KiwiHarvest.

David Baines, chief executive of NZ Pork, said NZ Pork had been in discussion with the Government for the past month to try and get the programme off the ground.

The agreement will see the Government buy surplus pork at cost up to a maximum of 2000 pigs or 112,000kg per week. A flat price per kilogram would be paid, Baines said.


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