As I write we are 13 days into the Covid-19 lockdown. Here in NZ we have some cautious good news with a levelling-off of new COVID-19 cases, a good sign we are getting on top of the virus.
National has supported the lock-down as a necessary measure to protect the health of New Zealanders so it’s good to see it appears to be having the desired effect. We only need to look to Italy or Spain to see how dire things could be if we weren’t getting on top of the virus and its spread.
For those of you keen for more details on where things are at please tune into a live chat with me and Judith Collins tonight 6pm on my Facebook page <[link removed]>. Questions and feedback welcomed.
National is very aware of the significant toll the virus and our response is having on businesses, jobs and the living standards of New Zealanders. That’s why it’s so important the Government does everything it can to make the lock-down successful, including properly quarantining new arrivals at the border, as Simon Bridges has called for in this petition <[link removed]>.
SPECIAL PARLIAMENT COMMITEEE
It’s also critical that New Zealand has a credible plan to support and revive businesses affected both by the shut-down and the longer-term effects the coronavirus will have on travel, lifestyles and demand for product and services.
Together with my colleagues I am in regular contact with local businesses about their situation and what needs to happen to keep them ticking over. I know it’s very tough out there for many businesses and the people you employ.
National is using the special Parliament “Covid Committee” to help advance thinking on New Zealand’s response and to ask relevant questions of the Government where needed.
The Committee has allowed us to scrutinise the Government response across the health, economic and social policy dimensions and we believe it has been an effective tool for improving the overall Covid-19 response. Last week the committee pushed the Government to ensure more testing was being carried out and to clarify whether police had the right powers.
This week, in addition to pushing the idea of proper quarantining at the border our team has asked questions about how the definition of “essential services’ will be interpreted in future.
The committee will continue to meet at 10am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. You can find the full schedule for this week here. <[link removed]>
The committee can be watched on National's Facebook page <[link removed]> (where it will be live-streamed), or on Parliament TV.
PHONE CALLING WELLINGTON SENIORS
I know many of you are concerned about how the more vulnerable members of our community are coping with this lockdown. That’s why our Wellington Central electorate has supported a phone-calling effort to connect with older Wellingtonians, both as a courtesy and also as an opportunity to provide those people with additional information or support services where needed (please see a comprehensive list at the bottom of this email). I have been honoured to receive many queries and ideas from Wellingtonians during this crisis and I continue to prioritise these local duties. If you have feedback or questions, or think there is something I can help with, please never hesitate to get in touch.
SCONES WITH THE KIDS
On a final note, like many of you I’m appreciating the opportunity the lock-down provides for additional family-time. I had a chat with a student journalist about how we are managing as a family in this interview <[link removed]>.
As I said to Matt, our family has been dedicating more time to new baking adventures including these cheese scones following the recipe from Wellington’s Pravda Café. We were pretty proud of the result. You can find the recipe here <[link removed]> if you are looking for some baking to do during isolation.
My best wishes to you and your family, stay safe,
UPDATE ON LOCAL SUPPORT SERVICES IN WELLINGTON
I know COVID-19 is making it tough. There is help and support available, here's a handy list should you or a friend or relative need a bit more help.