Today marks a week under Covid-19 lockdown as we all experience for the first time in our lives a crisis of this nature and dimension.
Most Aucklanders are conscientiously following the rules and I want to acknowledge and thank you for this. I know it's tough being separated from others. We have family and friends we would love to hug.
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It's even tougher for those suffering bereavements or having babies. But we know that it is necessary to save lives and to stop the spread of the virus so we can all go back to normal as quickly as possible.
For those few not following the rules, you need to show some responsibility and think of others. The police will, where necessary, enforce the emergency regulations.
A big thank you to those doing essential work, whether staffing our hospital and medical centres, working in our supermarkets and pharmacies, driving our buses, or keeping our essential services and industries going.
It's great to see compassion and the help many Aucklanders are offering to others. A crisis brings out, for the most part, the best in people and I acknowledge and thank those reaching out to the lonely and doing things like shopping for the elderly who most need to be self-isolating.
The council is playing a key role in working with health authorities and the Government in
managing the emergency, and also keeping key services like water, wastewater, rubbish and recycling collections and core public transport services going.
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Those of our staff who can work from home are doing so and those who can't are making themselves available for redeployment. Our catering staff, for example, are assisting the Auckland City Mission by making 400 meals a day for the homeless community and those facing severe financial hardship.
Forty staff have been deployed to a contact centre to respond to those who need emergency food parcels because they have lost their jobs and their incomes.
The council is co-ordinating between Government, which funds the food supplies, the venue which is providing staff to package the food, and courier companies which are delivering the packages to those in need at home.
Other staff are helping health agencies with contact-tracing those who may have Covid-19 and doing data input and administrative work.
Our first priority is to get through the pandemic crisis, constraining its spread and looking after those who are vulnerable and in need of help.
We will get through this crisis by working together. He waka eke noa—we are all in this together.
We also need to begin thinking of how best we can recover from the worldwide recession, which is likely to be the worst in recent history and will inevitably impact on us. People are losing jobs and businesses are failing because of the economic impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown.
As the threat of Covid-19 recedes, we need to look at how we can speed up the economic recovery by creating jobs and boosting spending.
I have set up a Mayoral Business Advisory Panel to work with us to ensure that the Government is aware of all the pressure points created by the crisis and how we can help bring the recovery forward.
We are working with Government for example on infrastructure projects which will create long term benefits for the city and will bring new jobs and stimulate recovery once the lockdown ends.
These are exceptional and unprecedented times, but I am proud of how Aucklanders and New Zealanders have responded to the crisis.
By being positive and continuing to work together, we can help ensure our country emerges in better shape than most from the pandemic and starts the process of rebuilding a stronger and fairer city and nation.
• Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland