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It is disappointing that Covid has been allowed to re-establish in New Zealand. We return to costly disruptions to our daily lives with lockdown returning to Auckland. Thankfully Nelson has no new cases. We need to work together to keep it that way.

I urge all Nelsonians to heed the health advice. We all need to be extra cautious about not going to work or school if we have any symptoms. We should get tested if advised to do so (my wife was tested last week after a light cough). We should be washing our hands more regularly than normal. We should practice social distancing or wear masks when not practical. We should all be using the Covid app to assist contact tracing.

We need to be upfront that the greatest risks for Covid is to our seniors and we need to take particular care around our aged care facilities. If any older people or others with health conditions wish to isolate and need assistance with shopping, please get in touch with my office.

I am also available to help any families or business’s facing extraordinary circumstances from the latest Covid restrictions. I have situations where we have families unable to see dying relatives in Auckland, funerals disrupted and Nelsonians urgent health care plans dashed. Please get in touch as I can often find solutions.

It is clear the Government’s border controls have been sloppy. This is unforgiveable given the sacrifice New Zealanders made in April and May to eradicate Covid. Government Ministers said in May that everyone entering New Zealand would be tested. It was revealed in June that 70% were not, meaning hundreds left quarantine without being Covid tested.

Ministers also assured us that all staff working on the border and in quarantine facilities were being regularly tested. This was always our greatest risk and where Melbourne failed. It is scandalous that most (63%) of these 6,000 staff have not been tested. Professor Gorman of Auckland University says this error “beggars belief”. Professor Baker from Otago University says this is most probably how the most recent outbreak started.

These recent border control failings repeat the errors that compounded the first wave of Covid. I was inundated with calls in February from returning Nelsonians concerned that our borders were so lax compared to other countries. It was also an error then to have allowed tourists to continue to enter New Zealand on the basis they would self-isolate.

I urge people to be cautious of conspiratorial theories on social media. I take my lead from scientists and health professionals. I ask the Government that they be more open – less spin and more facts. The duty of other parties including National is to be supportive when the Government is acting in the national interest but to be constructive critics where systems are failing.

Every country is being sorely tested by this virus. New Zealand has a huge advantage as the most geographically isolated country in the world. We must stop squandering this with sloppy border controls.  

 

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