Moving forward this summer

As the summer approaches all the hard work we have done to get our Covid-19 vaccination rate up above 90% this year has put us in a good place as restrictions ease.

The response across the North Shore to the vaccine rollout has been phenomenal - as I write this we are just days away from being 90% double vaccinated. Through careful management we have achieved the lowest number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths in the developed world.

However Covid-19 remains in our community, so even though we live in one of the most vaccinated cities in the world we still need to cautiously and carefully reopen. The ‘traffic lights’ framework is the tool that makes reopening safely possible. At its core is a simple principle; vaccinations protect us all and those that are vaccinated pose a substantially smaller risk to everyone else, making it safe for us to gather indoors once again, dine out and attend events.

The framework also recognises that choosing not to be vaccinated needs careful management. While North Shore Hospital has coped well responding to the Delta outbreak, overseas experience tells us the unvaccinated could overwhelm our ICU capacity without continued precautions.

I’ve been hands on in our community during the lockdown, getting support to families in need, engaging with community organisations and businesses, and feeding back to the government our challenges so Ministers provide the kind of support local businesses need to recover. More than $7.5 billion has been provided to support businesses through lockdown, with Auckland firms receiving around 70% of the total investment made through the resurgence payments and the wage subsidy. There will be further financial assistance to help them transition to the new framework, and to encourage us to visit them.

This summer I’m encouraging everyone to get behind our local retailers, hospitality outlets, hairdressers, event venues and other businesses who have been hanging out to welcome us back. Each time we buy local, eat at their tables, attend events like Sunsetter at Smales Farm, or employ a tradesperson we are also helping our community to recover because local businesses are owned by our neighbours. It’s now our turn now to help them recover from the very difficult trading conditions they’ve experienced when they had to stay closed to keep us safe.

So as the end of 2021 approaches I want to put on record my thanks to everyone who has been involved in the vaccine campaign and everyone who has been vaccinated – and I’d like to particularly acknowledge the hard work of the team at the Birkenhead vaccination centre who have regularly been amongst the busiest across the Auckland region. This has been a hard year for us all, but the direction of travel into 2022 is clear and it looks a whole lot better.

To you and your family my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and for the long days of summer ahead on our beautiful North Shore.

And support local!

Shanan Halbert


Call my office on 0800 222 007