Last weekend my front door-bell rang, I answered and to my surprise a cute group of kids, fully dressed up as witches and skeletons, screamed "trick or treat".
It was of course, a Halloween prank and good on the kids for having a bit of fun, no harm done.
Later on in the day I was thinking about the week that had just ended and it struck me that it was the second time in a week that I had experienced "trick or treat". The first was when the Government announced its Three Waters decision making it compulsory to surrender our Three Waters infrastructure and that the choice to opt out was no longer an option.
A trick - yes, but a treat - no. Furthermore, it was definitely not a prank because the decision to legislate was a major milestone in the reform process and the resolute commitment that the reforms will proceed. I comment further on this in an article on the subject in this newspaper.
The other topical issue occupying our minds is the Taranaki region's slow, but steady, progress towards the 90 per cent target for Covid vaccinations.
As of Sunday, our region had reached just under 85 per cent of eligible people having had their first dose, of which just over 66 per cent were fully vaccinated. The Taranaki District Health Board has recently copped plenty of criticism from some sectors over the low vaccination rates across the region, but I really wonder at this point in time, if this is a fair or justified criticism?
Sure, when the vaccination rollout first started the local health board was slow off the mark, but in recent months they have upped their game significantly. There is a multitude of ongoing, geographically well spread locations where the vaccination can be done and there has been a number of big promotions around mass events and various targeted initiatives or locations around the region.
So the capacity to give vaccinations has been there, but the uptake has still only been steady. I ask, at what point does the responsibility shift to the individuals who haven't made the effort to be vaccinated, to get along and do so?
I ask this, not to antagonise those people who are vaccine-hesitant, nor to wind up the anti-vaxxers, but to encourage people to get vaccinated before Covid arrives in Taranaki. It is not a question of when Covid comes here, but as a realistic assessment of when Covid comes here. Getting our vaccination rates up is about reducing risks and keeping people safe.
Adding to the urgency is the growing perception around New Zealand that Taranaki is dragging the chain for vaccination rates and we will end up holding back the introduction of the traffic light alert system that we are all striving for.
We don't want that for anyone; we want to get the green light and back to the new normal and the freedom of movement as soon as possible.
Some people and media seem intent on singling us out for special attention and as a result we are fast becoming labelled the leading region that has an anti-vax attitude. I don't believe that is true, I think that some people just haven't picked up on the urgency needed to get vaccinated before Covid arrives here.
The Stratford District early uptake was encouraging but we still need a concerted effort to achieve the target, with current figures showing just under 63 per cent of people in our district are fully vaccinated, and 81 per cent have had their first dose.
Let's make a final push, get over the 90 per cent mark, help keep people safe so when the traffic light turns green, Taranaki is ready to go.