Supermarket reopens after rat problem

Countdown Dunedin South at 323 Anderson’s Bay Rd has reopened this morning.  PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Countdown Dunedin South at 323 Anderson’s Bay Rd has reopened this morning. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
A rat-plagued Dunedin supermarket is again open for business. 

After a closure of 18 days and a botched reopening, Countdown South Dunedin at 323 Andersons Bay Rd began trading at 8am today, owner Woolworths New Zealand confirmed. 

The supermarket came to attention in January after staff alleged a lack of action on a rat infestation at the store.

The company subsequently confirmed a photo of a rat in the deli section supplied to the Otago Daily Times was taken at the supermarket in late November. 

Director of stores Jason Stockill said this morning they were confident the rat infestation had been addressed.

‘‘We are very pleased to be able to welcome our customers back to Countdown Dunedin South from 8am today.

‘‘We’d like to thank them for their patience as we've navigated the past couple of weeks.

‘‘We, along with MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) and Rentokil, are confident the situation has been addressed and while it took longer than anyone wanted, we are happy to have the store open again and our team are excited to be back serving our local community.

‘‘We’d also like to thank our Dunedin South and wider Dunedin team for their support, patience and hard work.’’

On February 9, the retailer announced the store would close to step up pest control efforts.

Since then, at least one rodent had either been caught or seen every two days.

A total of 24 rats have been caught to date, the latest on Thursday last week.

The store was initially poised to open last Sunday, but a lone rat spotted on a security camera unravelled that plan. 

A Woolworths New Zealand spokeswoman said yesterday there had been no further sightings or capture of rodents on Monday night in the store, following none on Sunday night.

This meant a 48-hour "clear air period" had been reached, allowing the store to reopen.