From Nicola Willis <[email protected]>
Subject 📣 Lockdown Update #4
Date May 7, 2020 6:35 AM
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
john --

It is now six weeks since New Zealand entered lockdown. Together we are beating COVID-19, with very low numbers of new cases being reported each day and only one active case in the Wellington region. We have begun a phased reduction in restrictions on activity and movement and many of us are eagerly anticipating increased freedom in the coming weeks. 

The people I speak with tell me of a sense of collective achievement and of relief that we have not seen a public health disaster of the scale seen elsewhere in the world. 

Even so, COVID-19 - and the measures New Zealand has taken to respond to it -have created a lot of harm across our communities. Many Kiwis are hurting. At Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee this week we heard of men and women unable to visit dying loved ones, a mother giving birth alone, cancer sufferers receiving reduced treatment. Each day we hear more stories of the sometimes devastating human impact of the lockdown. Lives have been lost, incomes reduced, jobs destroyed, 1000 plus people a day have been applying for the unemployment benefit and I have been personally contacted by many businesses deeply worried that - even with the wage subsidy in place - they won’t survive Covid-19 restrictions and their aftermath. Each and every one of us face a more uncertain future than we did two months ago. 

National’s work is manifold. We must at once support and celebrate New Zealand’s significant efforts to stamp-out the virus while also continuing to do the Opposition's job of ensuring the Government remains accountable for its decision making. As individual MPs we continue to respond to significant numbers of inquiries from individuals - putting their questions to the Government and seeking out the information and clarity they need. I was pleased this week for example to be able to use Parliament’s Question Time, the Epidemic Response Committee and an annual review debate to ask questions of the Minister of Education about what schools and early childhood services can expect in the coming weeks.

Increasingly National must focus on developing the policies and plans New Zealand needs to recover quickly and fully from the massive disruption taking place. The task ahead of our country is huge - to repair our economy, to restore the livelihoods of families and individuals today, and to ensure opportunities for the children who follow us and who will be responsible for paying down much of the debt now being incurred. 

Our team is developing a National Recovery Agenda to address those challenges and this week our Leader Simon Bridges gave a speech outlining its key elements, including a package designed to boost small business recovery. 

Read on for updates on this package and my work inside and outside of Parliament

Back to Parliament



While Parliamentary duties have continued throughout the lockdown I’ve been grateful to be back in the real debating chamber in the past couple of weeks. Parliament is a more sombre place than usual – with many MPs continuing to work from home and the eeriness of an almost empty debating chamber. Even so, it’s been refreshing to have the opportunity to ask questions directly of Ministers, in addition to continuing the work of Select Committees via Zoom call. 

I  questioned Hon Chris Hipkins, the Minister of Education, at Question Time, working to get answers for those early childhood centres who are wondering what level 2 will mean for them.

You can watch my question here <[link removed]>

We also had a really constructive debate in parliament on Wednesday with the Education Minister again taking questions about Education & COVID-19 from me. It was a very informative discussion - not the combative theatrics the House sometimes gets a bad rep for! 

You can watch my speech here <[link removed]>

National's COVID-19 Business Package 



On Tuesday we announced the first part of National's economic recovery agenda.

National announced two new policies to support small businesses and help them boost jobs and investments. National would:

- Offer a GST cash refund of up to $100,000 to small businesses worst affected by Covid-19– based on the GST they paid in the 6 months to 1 January 2020. We estimate this could benefit up to 160,000 businesses and save countless jobs.
- Temporarily lift the threshold to expense new capital investment for firms to $150,000 for two years. For example, if a company spends $145,000 on a new machine to improve its productivity, rather than depreciating that asset over many years, it will be able to expense the full $145,000 in this tax year.

You can read Simons Bridges’s full speech here <[link removed]>

Good Result for Tertiary Students!



I was pleased to join a successful campaign led by students at Victoria University to roll-back unfair accommodation fees imposed on students unable to occupy hostel rooms during the level 3 & 4 lockdown. The $150 weekly fee was unjust – with the University charging many students for rooms that had already been rented out to other people.

You can read my letter here <[link removed]>

I congratulate the University for responding by doing the right thing and cancelling the fee.

First Waterfront Walk



I took my first waterfront walk since lockdown began today. It was just beautiful. Fellow cyclists, walkers, and runners were graciously physically distancing. There were fish literally jumping in the harbor. The sea twinkled. I felt proud to be a Wellingtonian. We live in a beautiful city.

It’s important we support each other during this difficult time and I am determined to fulfill my representative duties to you. If I can help in any way, please get in touch.

Kia kaha and ngā mihi,



Nicola



-=-=-
National Party Wellington Central - New Zealand
This email was sent to [email protected]. To stop receiving emails: [link removed]
-=-=-

Created with NationBuilder - [link removed]
Screenshot of the email generated on import

Message Analysis