This summer will have been our first under Covid conditions. There is no doubt we all deserved a good break after what has been a tough year, but at least here in New Zealand we got to enjoy the kind of festive season many other countries can only dream of. During the summer break I’ve been at a prizegiving at Tomarata School, met Santa at Warkworth and Wellsford events, supported the Late Night Christmas shopping in Wellsford, dropped into the night market at Te Hana marae, attended the Christmas mass in Hakaru, had lunch at the reopened Bayside restaurant in Snells Beach, went to the Matakana markets, visited the Snells Beach summer art exhibition fundraiser and enjoyed seeing the classic cars at the Mangawhai Black Swamp Rod Run.
I count my blessings every day that we can safely do these things here. I’m privileged to be able to spend my days mixing and mingling with people, doing what I love. I’m so grateful this is possible, but I’m also thinking of everyone less fortunate than we are, in countries where the pandemic is still in full force.
The Netherlands, where my elderly parents are, is back in full lockdown. At the end of last year, more than 8000 people had died from Covid in the Netherlands. At the time of writing, that number has increased to well over 13,000 with still no end in sight, as the country reports thousands of new Covid cases every single day. And all that time the elderly, the vulnerable, and many others don’t feel safe to leave their homes. Here, in New Zealand, all we have to do is remember to slip, slop, slap; scan; and stay home and get tested if we have any cold or flu symptoms. These are the little things we can all do each day to protect ourselves and our whānau from the virus.
The Government’s decision to act quickly in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic has helped the economy recover faster than expected, but the full economic effects of Covid-19 are still to be felt in New Zealand and across the world. The Government will continue to work with businesses and workers to cushion the blow and support job retention and creation. We’ll purchase Covid vaccines from a range of pharmaceutical companies, so that every New Zealander can be vaccinated. Plus, we’ve agreed to establish travel bubbles with Australia and the Cook Islands in the first quarter of this year, pending no significant change in circumstances. There is plenty to look forward to.
Marja Lubeck, Rodney-based MP