• June 5, 2020
KFC Papatoetoe would be a five-minute drive from the new outlet in Otara. Image: Google Maps.
Petitioners fighting a new KFC in Ōtara have raised their sights after media coverage led to a strong show of support from the public.
Thousands more have now signed the petition by community group Thriving Ōtara since a Te Waha Nui story about it was republished by the New Zealand Herald.
The initial petition target was 1500 signatures, but after surpassing 2500, the target was extended to 5000.
The petition opposes the construction of a new KFC in Ōtara and calls for a “decent shopping franchise” instead, like a supermarket.
Ōtara has multiple fast-food outlets but no supermarket.
One signatory questioned: “Why do all the rich areas get [supermarkets] and not our town?”
Another wrote: “Put in what the people are asking for – a decent supermarket!"
Manukau ward councillor Efeso Collins says the community is indeed longing for a supermarket.
"We don't need another KFC," he said.
"If you look at South Auckland, if you look at vulnerable, poorer communities, you'll always find a liquor store next to a takeaway and the dairy and then you'll find too many fast-food outlets.”
Ōtara Christian Health Centre’s Dr Mark Arbuckle said one answer was to raise wages so people don't have to work such long hours and had more time to prepare food.
"The availability of fast-food outlets, and the same with liquor outlets, they are targeting communities that go for an option that suits their ability to get food. It's a bit of a downward spiral.”
Dr Arbuckle says Ōtara has huge problems with obesity and diabetes levels, including in young people, driven up by the "hidden sugars" in fizzy drinks and unhealthy fats in fast food.
"It's been a problem for a long time, and this is [going to] sort of aggravate that problem.”
KFC did not reply to a request for comment.
At the time of publication of this story, the petition had drawn 3528 signatures.