Public hygiene ratings

September 11th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Log on to the website of the Auckland Council, or its Palmerston North counterpart for that matter, and you can find a hygiene rating for every eatery in the city, plus the date it was last inspected.

Log on to the website and you will see all sorts of information for restaurant and cafe owners but nothing for the public.

The Auckland and Palmerston North councils have decided that their first obligation is to the public, not business operators.

Wellington City Council is conflicted about where its loyalties lie. The council does inspect premises and does issue cleaning, repair and closure notices, but it does not maintain a public register of , does not require eateries to display their ratings, as Auckland and Palmerston North do, and only reluctantly surrendered to The records showing which eateries had failed to meet minimum hygiene standards in the last financial year.

Absolutely this info should be on public display. You should not have to use LGOIMA to prise it out of the Council.

Most people would think that is information that should be provided to the public as a matter of course, but not Wellington City Council operations and business development leader Raaj Govinda. In a letter to the affected businesses last week, he said the council was “extremely reluctant” to provide the list and “has not done so willingly”.

The council was not in the business of “trying to close people”, he later explained. Fair enough.

No-one wants businesses to close, dining options to be reduced or staff to be put out of work. But no-one wants food poisoning either.

The best guarantor of business viability and patrons’ health is the publication of hygiene ratings. That way everyone knows what the rules of the game are and who is, and is not, playing by them.

It is surely no coincidence that in Auckland and Palmerston North, where ratings are public, the vast majority of eateries meet the highest “A” standard. They cannot afford not to when their customers know their competitors two doors down the road are also getting a top rating.

Absolutely. And maybe sites like Trip Advisor could link to the hygiene rating!

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6 Responses to “Public hygiene ratings”

  1. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    This isn’t just out of whack with Auckland and Palmerston North, in many overseas jurisdictions you can expect to see clear hygiene certification in eateries – certainly in most of the countries we’d like to rank ourselves alongside.

    Looks like another issue for the next mayor, John Morrison, to clean up.

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  2. xy (187 comments) says:

    Sounds like nannystatist interference with the free market to ME.

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  3. wat dabney (3,761 comments) says:

    Sounds like nannystatist interference with the free market to ME.

    I tend to agree.

    This council accreditation service should be dropped.

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  4. lolitasbrother (695 comments) says:

    Yes ,xy and wat dabney above
    it is tricky lets face it who would trust a Council Health Environment Inspector, good grief.
    As for a trip advisor link, I do not think so.
    They would be better linking to maps to show where places are, how to find
    rather than printing nanny state health ratings

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  5. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    Of course the resulting news story focused on the four that were closed and put their names in big letters, even though they were only closed for a day or so each due to discovery of mouse droppings somewhere away from where food was actually being prepared. The real problem is with places that have consistently mediocre standards but have not so far been caught in a dirty enough state to justify closure.

    The council should have volunteered the information but I can understand their reluctance to help the media damage people’s businesses by misreporting what happened.

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  6. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    Any involvment of a Council will be to issue a fine, they love it. Grubby little self appointed check and fine Police

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