'Be kind': A message of hope from Southern mayors

As the nation readies itself for four weeks of lockdown to fight the spread of Covid-19, Southern mayors are asking Otago and Southland residents to be kind, stay home and keep safe.

At 11.59pm tonight the country will move into Alert Level 4 meaning everyone, except those working in an essential service, is required to stay at home.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins says Dunedin City Council staff are working behind the scenes to ensure the city runs as normally as possible.

"For now our focus is on keeping essential services running. That's rubbish collection, the water supply and paying the bills," Mr Hawkins says.

Hawkins asks Dunedin residents to "be kind, stay home and save lives".

Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan says he is looking forward to seeing Clutha residents once the lockdown period is over. 

Cadogan says people should stay in touch with their neighbours either by using the phone or chatting over the fence. 

Queenstown Lakes District mayor Jim Boult says the district has been hit harder by the crisis than any other in New Zealand but is pledging to help lead the area to a brighter future at the end of it all.

"If we do knuckle down and obey what we are supposed to do for four weeks, then there is a good chance we will start to go back to normal from that," Boult says.

Down in Southland, mayor Gary Tong says he knows Southlanders are resilient and will get through this period of uncertainty. 

"I ask you all to consider your health and that of your family, friends and neighbours - everyone is paramount." Tong says.

In Central Otago, mayor Tim Cadogan, says the area's residents are good people who are ready to help those who need the help.

"When I think about it though, Central Otago must just be about the best place in the world to have to self isolate though, and to go through this crisis."

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher says there is a lot of work being done to make sure the next four weeks will go as smoothly as possible in the Waitaki.

"Please look after each other, take care of yourself and don't panic."



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