As we slowly begin to return to normalcy after the last six weeks, we are bringing back political debate, or at least we thought we were. Our first debatable back finds much consensus between our National and Labour MPs. And that might be the most unsettling part of this brand new world.
As we emerge from Lockdown, New Zealand’s spirit has shone through over the last few weeks. We’ve seen people look after each other through neighbourhood support and community action.
I want to acknowledge all the essential workers who worked tirelessly over the four-week lockdown and continue to do so. Thank you to our health professionals, frontline workers, food producers, and supermarket workers for all your hard work under the lockdown.
Thank you also to everyone who adhered to the level 4 restrictions and stayed within their bubble during the four week lockdown period. Your patience and cooperation allowed New Zealand to bend the curve and reduce transmission.
Thank you to the University of Waikato for considering the students during this pandemic, in particular the halls of residence. (If you are having any issues with private tenancies, please do not hesitate to contact my office or WSU).
It is crucial now that we move forward with building strategies that ensure that graduates have substantial opportunities in the next few years. We can only assume that there will be restricted activities and no large gathering for the near future. The effects on the hospitality and tourism industries are significant. The Government will be borrowing heavily to try and resurrect the economy so people like students can find employment while studying and after graduation.
The future of work will change. Work patterns will vary, and people will likely have multiple career changes over their lifetime. Industries will evolve and grow. Sectors such as Primary Industries, Advanced Manufacturing, and IT will provide growth opportunities for New Zealand, which will have flow-on effects for the rest of the country.
As we positively look forward to the future, the Government must promote long term initiatives that provide long term growth and employment. An opportunity to move New Zealand forward for decades to come.
Once again, thank you to those who adhered to the Level 4 restrictions. And a special thank you to the essential service workers at the forefront.
I want to acknowledge the challenges students have been facing during Covid-19. I appreciate your willingness to work with your lecturers and fellow students around online learning.
Thank you for your unity, sacrifice, and commitment to eliminating Covid-19. As a country, we should be enormously proud of what we are achieving together, saving countless lives.
I’m proud of our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who is a strong, decisive, and caring leader. We only have to look to the incredible challenges overseas to see what happens when countries have not acted swiftly.
My bubble consists of my wife Angela (who is a Waikato Regional Councillor), our four children, and three cats. Angela and I have been working from our Chartwell home while doing our best to support our children in their learning. As well as school work, we have been focusing on imparting life skills such as cooking, building, gardening, and physical activity.
Here are the golden rules for life at Alert Level 3:
1. Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising, or getting essentials, then you must be at home, the same as at Alert Level 4.
2. Work from home if you can. We still want the vast majority of people working from home and limiting contact with others.
3. Make your business COVID-19 safe. Employers must only reopen their workplace if they can do so safely. Important industries like construction, manufacturing, and forestry will be able to open, as will retail so long as it is not customer-facing.
4. Stay local. Exercise at local parks or beaches within your region. Closer to home is better. Activities must be safe – keep two meters away from anybody, not in your bubble.
5. Keep your bubble as small as possible. If you need to, you can expand your bubble a small amount to bring in close family, isolated people, or caregivers.
6. Wash your hands with soap often. Then dry them. Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
7. Stay home if you are sick, and get tested is you have any respiratory illness.