During Omicron outbreaks, experts say New Zealand’s supply chains will only be as healthy as the people running them. The highly-contagious Covid-19 variant has stifled workforces in Australia, so will we suffer the same fate if the variant takes hold here?

Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation president Chris Edwards said empty shelves were not inevitable if New Zealand learnt lessons from in Australia.

“If we’re smart we can get through it, if we’re not, we’ll have significant issues.”

Omicron’s high transmission rate and isolation requirements mean labour shortages could stifle supply chains and workforces.

“If businesses can’t test themselves or isolation requirements are too long then the supply chain will be under significant pressure,” Edwards said.

He added that retailers could also be severely disrupted by consumers choosing to stay at home if they’re afraid of catching the virus when out.

Edwards warned against people from stock-piling any particular items suggesting that supply chains would be unprepared.

He said he didn’t expect supply chains to return to normal until the last financial quarter of this year, or worse early 2023.