Tomorrow is a momentous day for those of us concerned about the health of both our country's economy and its people – in short, for all of us.
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On the same day that New Zealand transitions into Covid alert level 2, Finance Minister Grant Robertson will deliver a Budget that he has already described as being "far from business as usual".
How could it be anything other, given the once-in-a-generation shock that has jolted our global economies?
The New Zealand Government has termed this the "rebuilding budget" and it will set the tone for the recovery of both our regional and national economies.
Already throughout the nationwide lockdown, billions of dollars' worth of support packages to help combat the economic effects of Covid-19 have been announced and put into action.
Here, at Northland Inc, our business growth advisers have been working tirelessly with regional business owners as they navigate the detail around the support schemes available to them.
More than 400 businesses have received assistance via our business support helpline, which remains active during business hours on 0800 525 001.
All eyes now turn to tomorrow's Budget 2020, with the Government pledging to provide further support so that New Zealanders "can rebuild stronger and better".
It is not up to me to second-guess the specific details that Grant Robertson will announce tomorrow. However, we will be hoping, obviously, for some short-term investment and support for the thousands who have lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of the global crisis.
No easing off until all sectors are safely back on stream
Collaboration is key in post-lockdown world
As Northlanders we will continue to rise to the challenge
Among other things, retraining programmes will need to be put in place to help them back into work, but we cannot expect to put all the pieces back together overnight. It will take time, and this is an opportunity to lay more solid foundations for the future.
What I do know is that just as we have fought this together, so we must we rebuild together. At Northland Inc, we will be working closely with our regional business community but, equally, we will be working in harness with our fellow agencies to achieve our goals in this new economic environment.
Collaboration is key if we are to build a better future, and that applies now more than ever. I can promise you that your key agencies are now more determined than ever to work together, to pool our resources and to combine our strengths in a committed, united front.
If, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, we have been a team of five million fighting Covid-19, then in Northland all 188,000 of us have more than played our part.
I want to acknowledge, therefore, all those within our region who have made such huge sacrifices for the greater good and demonstrated at every turn our trademark resilience and determination.
Northlanders can be proud, too, of their spirit of manaakitanga – the respect and care we have shown for each other as we navigate these uncertain times. It has been there for all to see, in neighbour helping neighbour, in young helping old, or with small businesses helping other small businesses.
Here, at Northland Inc, we have thrown our weight behind the Northern Advocate's Go Local! campaign, which aims to encourage all of us to support our regional enterprises and those dedicated business owners who form the lifeblood of our local economy.
We can all help in our own small way by thinking twice before we make a purchase, for example, by keeping the mantra "buy local" at the forefront of our minds.
As we progress into level 2 tomorrow, we know that the gains have been hard-won and the sacrifices huge, and to go backwards now would be catastrophic. We must continue to be team players, doing all we can to protect, preserve and promote Tai Tokerau, and to remain disciplined at all times.
As the Prime Minister reminded us, it is a small price to pay to keep the economy ticking over, to help keep people in work and help others back into jobs. We all have a shared responsibility to make that happen.
The rebuilding starts now.
• Murray Reade is chief executive of Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency.