Viewpoint – Positive start to 2021

This summer there is no doubt we all deserved a good break after what has been a tough year, but at least here in NZ we got to enjoy the kind of festive season many other countries can only dream of.

Recent mass gatherings like the Puhoi woodchopping carnival and Orewa’s Big Dig were able to go ahead. There was also Love Soup’s free Christmas meal. Julie King and her team of volunteers are doing an amazing job from Whangaparaoa Hall – I was pleased that I could support their application for a new warehouse and seeing it open up a couple of months ago in Redvale was great news.

It is also great to see steady progress on Penlink. It has been a pleasure to support the staunch community advocates in their decades-long fight for this road and, after many years of unfunded promises, it was a proud moment when our Government, for the first time ever, committed $411 million to fully fund the project as part of our NZ Upgrade Programme. There is a lot of preparation work for a project of this magnitude, and significant progress has been made to allow construction to start this year.

It’s a real privilege to be back at Parliament, starting my second term as part of one of the most diverse governments in NZ history. I’m privileged to be able to spend my days mixing and mingling with people, 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. In a country the size of Northland, they’ve seen more than 13,000 people die and still the country reports thousands of new Covid-19 cases every day. And all that time the elderly, the vulnerable, and many others don’t feel safe to leave their homes.

Here in NZ we must remember to slip, slop, slap, scan, and stay home and get tested if we have any cold or flu symptoms. But the recent cases are a good reminder that this is a tricky virus and we need to do everything we can to stay on top of it. Continue your scanning/keeping a record of everywhere you go, and stay home if sick. Contact your GP or Healthline (0800 358 5453) if you have any questions about the need to get tested.

At the start of 2021, I want to thank everyone who is working hard to keep us safe and able to enjoy summer – our essential workers who might not get a break these holidays, and everyone working in and around our borders, ports and MIQ facilities. Your dedication serves as an example to all of us.

Editor’s note: Last year’s election saw Marja Lubeck confirmed as the Labour List MP with responsibility for both the Kaipara ki Mahurangi and Whangaparaoa electorates.