Call to plan for extra support

Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins. Photo: supplied
Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins. Photo: supplied
The Government needs to offer targeted support to regions that may not be lifted out of lockdown — or "be honest about the fact that we'll be punished for people getting sick", Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins says.

There were 132 confirmed or probable cases of Covid-19 in the Southern District Health Board area yesterday.

That was more than any other DHB area.

Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield this week suggested some regions might have their Level 4 restrictions eased, depending on the spread of the virus.

Mr Hawkins said those regions forced to stay in lockdown would need extra support.

"This may be a necessary public health response, but the country can't afford to have a two-speed recovery.

"They need to be working through this now, when there's still a couple of weeks up our sleeves."

He had raised the issue with Dunedin MPs, including Health Minister David Clark, at a meeting yesterday.

"If the Government are going to keep our local economy on ice, while other areas are able to open for business, they need to either work with us on a plan to mitigate that or be honest about the fact that we'll be punished for people getting sick," Mr Hawkins said.

"I’m not disappointed that they haven’t turned their attention to this specific issue yet.

"My intention in flagging it with them was that it’s better to start thinking about that now rather than having to react to things should it get to that point."


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Entirely predictable. Mayor Hawkins asks central government for more money. ‘Funding’ is the answer to everything. As for his use of the words ‘punished for being sick’, this is just irresponsible, non-factual rhetoric. Central government has no intention of ‘punishing’ anyone. On the contrary, they are doing all they can to protect all New Zealanders. The South in winter can very likely expect a higher incidence of a virus which likes to be cold, damp and dark, just as the North can expect a higher incidence of camphyllobacter or, worse, one day, dengue fever. Blaming and shaming words used to try to manipulate central government will only alienate them. They are already doing the best they can in an unprecedented situation. We are all in this together. Hawkins’ usual political style of identifying the ‘enemy’ and then making a verbal attack is not going to work here.

What about our economic dependency on industries that will suffer disproportionately, long after the lockdown is over ???
Does our mayor have any idea how our economy works ???
Is our mayor even trying to find out how big our pain is going to be in the medium term ???
Does our mayor have any other plan than passing the buck up the line to national government ???
Has the council reviewed budgets, placing all nonessential works on hold until the new city economy can be assessed ???
Have all the mud traps been cleaned out before the winter truly sets in ???

I think his bubble is getting too big.

This council has done a good job at punishing Dunedin businesses pre-Covid19 so you’ll find little support from me.

The Govt are acting under advice for public safety, so get on board, show some real leadership and support.

Mr Mayor;
You really dropped the ball during the crisis. You had the opportunity to shine and failed to do anything of substance. Your staff is being paid but what are they doing? What you could have done? You could have used the resources of the DCC to:
Help nonprofit organizations – Red Cross, Blood Centers, CDC,
Provide Assistance in Feeding those in need – facilitated donations for food banks and food pantries/ Ensure children at risk were fed.
Provide Assistance for Dunedin’s Elderly and Shut in’s. Older people are among the most vulnerable to complications from coronavirus. What have you done for the elderly? Consider using some of the paid staff for checking or shopping and delivering groceries?
Direct Relief for Doctors and Nurses – assist in obtaining, masks, gloves, isolation gowns
You want to stimulate the local economy? Promote the purchase of gift cards for local businesses. They intern act as interest-free loans for the Dunedin business affected by the lockdown.
Local animal shelters and rescue groups – have you provided any assistance?
So, what exactly have you done? People are hurting, what are you going to do about the rates increase?

If they went and helped out the DCC would be liable if they got sick, then you would complain that they were sent out. They just can't win with you and your merry band of knockers.

What the government would be better to do right now is focus on testing. Especially the southern region in seeing as we have so many cases, there will be many more around that we don't yet know about. Coupled to that, due to our high positive case numbers, the lockdown should be more strongly implemented here. Too many out and about frankly.
I'm equally amazed and appalled that as yet, our region hasn't been the focus of a 'no holds barred' drive through testing regime. Even little ole Matamata did drive through testing! Which was set up very quickly. Auckland currently carries out drive through testing. No where near enough is being done in the Southern Region. While we have our locally residing health minister out for a ride, we remain with no talk of TESTING. Come on David, fair go!
If we can identify all those infected, we could lift the clamps sooner and get back to work. Push the testing Aaron. Or indeed we'll remain locked down and in the dark for much longer than bank accounts and the patience of the public will withstandstand.

Jacinda jumps from day to day in her response, she's under a hell of a lot of pressure and preforming 10 times better than I expected but yes there are tho gs to do and it will be done but not just yet.
All you actually do anything other than complaining about what should be done in your view...
Get out and do something and make a difference instead of being a keyboard warrior.

They probably ARE already making plans for all contingencies and trying to sort it all out. Personally I don't envy their jobs at all. They are doing the best they can under incredibly difficult and trying times, so the last thing they need is a regional mayor grandstanding telling them what they should be doing , afterall, he himself has not been seen to do anything at all to help Dunedins citizens plight . Wouldn't it be nice to have a pro-active mayor and council.

Don't you just love all the doom and gloomers that can't get off their own butts and do it theirselves.
The complainers are people that couldn't do it themselves but just love putting the boot in instead of actually doing anything themselves.
If the DCC got a lotto ticket and it won $20 million the haters would complain that they purchased the ticket. They are destroying ODT online.

Please don't assume the wider role of those who post comments here, you would be very surprised to know what 'others' do for others and themselves. Trouble is, some folk fail to hold their elected leaders to task, blindly believing everything they say and do. They are also the same folk who have remarkably short memories when the time comes to vote. It appears that some like to stereotype those who disagree with how our governance is directed and implemented, labelling them as 'gloom and doomers'. As for 'destroying' ODT online, I would remind you that the views of all can and are equally aired. As it happens, you seem to disagree with anything and everything people say. Fact is, they are expressing concern and suggesting alternative solutions. If you see that as 'doom and gloom', then that is your opinion. Criticism is all part of the narrative. It does however appear to me that you constantly single out only a couple of posters here, on nearly every article, even though their views match the vast majority of comments. Maybe you are the 'keyboard warrior', I think you may have some sort of fixation. I believe that the first mistake I made, was replying to you. Won't happen again.

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