Mayoral update for 11 April


It has been a sad day for our country, with another two deaths related to Covid-19, bringing our total to four.

One of those people was a local who sadly passed away in Wellington Regional hospital today. That number could increase, we’ve been warned, due to the underlying health vulnerabilities of the people linked with the Christchurch resthome.

It’s a sobering reminder of how devastating the virus can be, particularly for our older loved ones. I’d like to extend my sympathies – and those of the people of Wellington – to the families of those who have died.

I’d also like to remind everyone that this is why we’re in the lockdown – to help prevent deaths in our communities. We all have a part to play in limiting the spread, breaking the chain of transmission, and saving lives. The sooner we beat this virus, and eradicate it completely, the fewer people will die, and the better it will be for our lifestyles and our livelihoods.

We were out yesterday for a walk and saw lots of people out enjoying the beautiful weather and views. Everyone was doing the right thing with physical distancing, and lots of good korero. There were some dogs off lead, so just a reminder to keep your canine friends on a lead except in specific off leash areas. Even then with Covid 19 about it might be a good idea to keep your dogs leashed.

We all know that Covid 19 is having a devastating impact on our economy.  That actually means real people’s businesses, real people’s jobs, real people’s incomes. I’ve spoken frequently before about what the Council is doing to help businesses now and once the lockdown restrictions ease.

There are also some simple steps you – as a consumer – can take right now to help out local businesses and support local jobs. How about the next time you do your shopping, get the best of Wellington to share in your bubble. From bread, cheese and meat, to dumplings, peanut butter, craft beer, and chocolate – Wellington food and beverage companies make sensational products. All of which are available from your local supermarket, or you can order on line.

It’s all about Loving Local. It’s part of putting the ‘We’ in Wellington. You’ll find a great list of Wellington food businesses at WellingtonNZ.com.

Government has given supermarkets special permission to open tomorrow, so some will be open, although – if today is anything to go by – there could be queues, so please be patient.  Take the chance for a friendly chat with the people ahead of and behind you – at a safe distance!

And be kind to supermarket workers. They’ve had a full-on few weeks and they’re doing a brilliant job working in very busy, trying conditions.

Some business continues during lockdown. Ryman Healthcare have just lodged their resource consent application for a major retirement complex on the former Wellington Teacher’s College site in Karori. Council consents staff will need to consider this. I will be particularly interested to see how parts of the resource consent process can proceed during lockdown. I know many people and organisations will be intently scrutinising decisions about notification. I’ll update you on this later.

Some interesting news from our Regional Council, with a big improvement in air quality due to the lockdown. Air pollution measured at the Wellington City station on Vivian Street dropped by a remarkable 72% as a weekly average compared to the same period over the previous four years. Obviously there are a lot fewer vehicles on the road. Along with cleaner air, we’ll also seeing more birdlife returning to the CBD while we aren’t around to disturb them.

Finally, tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I wish you and your loved ones – whether they’re in your bubble or not – a wonderful day. For our Christian community, I hope you can enjoy an online Easter service. And for everyone who loves Easter eggs – myself included – remember that the Easter Bunny has rightfully been deemed an essential worker by the Prime Minister.

Wellington, have a wonderful Easter, enjoy the lovely weather, and I’ll be back for another update soon.

Kia kaha.