COVID-19 has resurfaced in the community and New Zealand is back to alert level 2.
This time around COVID-19 has hit close to home with the news of our local towns of Tokoroa with 2 positive cases and Taupo being exposed by visits to the area by a family who has tested positive for coronavirus.
I've been in touch with the organisations involved and am very proud of how well they are holding up and their prompt response to the unexpected situation they find themselves in to mitigate any risks of the virus potentially spreading. Like them, for many of us, this has come as a shock. However, I am encouraged by our collective resilience shown so far.
In Tokoroa, residents and councillors say its a town that "takes care of each other". I’ve always said the heart of the Taupō electorate is Tokoroa and it has a huge heart. People look out for one another and the first lockdown proved this. The recent outbreak is another opportunity to show New Zealand Tokoroa’s phenomenal community spirit. If you are someone affected and need assistance, please get in touch.
Despite our restrictions, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can safeguard Kiwis from COVID while ensuring our economy gets through this as best possible. I value your emails and please keep an eye out for my fortnightly newsletters.
National has announced its border protection policy and you can read more here.
We may well need to adjust to living in a COVID world and one where your business’ sustainability – economic, environmental, social and cultural – will be more important than ever. My recent meetings with business owners certainly highlighted that the challenges facing businesses are very real and confronting.
The need to rethink how we do business came across strongly as imperative to the longer-term survival of many.
Election date and Parliament rising
There have been other consequences for New Zealand as a whole too. For example, the election date has moved out to 17 October which is fortunate as I had received lots of feedback from people concerned about their ability to participate in our democracy with significant restrictions in place.
Parliament has also been extended and the Parliament will now be dissolved on Sunday 6 September instead. Recalling Parliament after the House had already risen was the right decision as the country is in a difficult situation at the moment.
The political decisions the Government makes to get us through this should be scrutinised by Parliament. All voices must be heard if we are to move forward as a united team.
Out and about
The past few weeks have been inspiring meeting many of you and hearing your stories of how you have been surviving the past few months.
We recently hosted National Leader Judith Collins in the electorate. Following an awe-inspiring public meeting in Taupo, we went to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari for an important conservation policy announcement. Read more about it here.
We enjoyed a coffee stop at Enchanted Cafe and walkabout in Tirau (albeit in the refreshing rain)! The day was well rounded up with a visit to a Professional Farm Services construction site in Cambridge.
And we had lots of cups of tea! Judith likes her tea... I'm shown here with my son Mac and Judith.
Friendly Forums and Coffee Catch Ups
For now, our Friendly Forums are on hold due to physical distancing restrictions as it means we need to cater for larger numbers of people at these events.
Thank you to all in the Turangi and Taupo communities who came out to meet up with me at our recent Friendly Forums, I do appreciate it. Some interesting conversations including about the Residential Tenancy Amendment Bill and its consequences for landlords and tenants.
We also talked about the cannabis and end of life referendums, tax hikes, social housing, the RMA and the opening of our borders. Some great views shared! I will be scheduling further Coffee Catch Ups to ensure more opportunities for you to share your views with me.
Tele Townhall meetings
During the lockdown, I hosted several tele townhall meetings. These are meetings where I call you and invite you to join me in a 'ask me anything' type phone meeting with others, the topics discussed are quite wide-ranging.
Subjects vary and range from trees being planted on land that had been producing food, the four-lane highway, filling skills gaps, paying for quarantine, Tahr control and a third bridge for Cambridge.
If you joined the call, I'd love your feedback on how you found the meeting. If you didn't manage to make it this time, there'll be future opportunities to meet again - watch this space for dates and times.
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