Mayoral update for 26 March

26 March 2020

Good afternoon again Wellington, I’m Mayor Andy Foster.

Well done Wellington on our first day of this historic lockdown of our whole country.

From what I have seen and heard, we are all doing a great job, following all the advice to stay in our bubbles, stay safe, and stay separate, and stay home other than a walk or run from home, or going to the supermarket, pharmacy or doctor.  

We’ve been asked to look after ourselves, and to look after each other. That is some of the oldest advice ever - ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.

If you are uncertain about what the rules are, or if you have any queries at all about what you need to do, visit: covid19.govt.nz.

Some of us have the responsibility to do what is defined as essential work.

That is the work that has to be done to keep our society operating.

I know that some of you are anxious about doing that essential work in the circumstances we face – and I just want you to know how much what you do is appreciated.

Whether you work in or support medical or emergency services, public service, produce, deliver or sell food, ensure vital utilities continue to run.

Whatever your role is – thank you.  

To everyone else this is a special opportunity to display the kindness we have rightly been enjoined to show.

In Council news today, I’m thrilled to announce that the installation of the new Willis St pipeline is now complete. The new underground pipe is in place and working, and the overground pipe will now be removed.

A huge amount of effort went into this project over the last few months, Wellington Water and contractors working long hours starting during the Christmas break. Thanks to their great work we’ve managed to complete the work to target.

We're now looking forward to opening Willis Street by mid-next week.

I’d like to remind you all that kerbside recycling has now stopped, so please do not put your bins or bags out tonight. They will not be collected to keep everyone safe.  

Some residents had to retrieve their recycling this morning - we’re sorry about this – but the recycling sorting station in the Hutt Valley is now closed – so the service has ended until further notice.

And remember, all our playgrounds and skateparks are now closed, as is Wellington Zoo, Zealandia, and the Basin Reserve.

Playgrounds and skateparks are closed specifically because of the risk of transfer of the virus which can remain live for around three days on surfaces like plastic and metal. 

Please help break to cycle of infection and do not use any of the city or school playgrounds.

I met with Councillors today via Zoom.

I’d like to report specifically on some of the great work being done by our Community Services team, working with other social agencies to look after those who don’t have a home, or shelter, or food.

I’d like to highlight the great work being done by Cr Tamatha Paul and the Wellington Student Army to support organisations like Wellington City Mission, DCM, Ngati Kahungunu, The Wellington Night Shelter, The Soup Kitchen, Wellington Women’s House, the Women’s Homeless Trust, and CD Welfare.

Emergency food services are considered an essential service at this time.

DCM is moving street homeless people into accommodation and making sure outreach and support services are still available to their clients.  

The Soup Kitchen is providing even more meals for those in need and have moved to a “takeaway” service. They will also provide prepared meals for the Wellington Night shelter.

They are reporting higher than normal volume of people accessing their meals.

Finally I heard some fabulous advice yesterday from somebody who has lived through seven weeks of lockdown in China.

Their advice included the need to keep calm, follow the instructions issued to keep us all safe, and that we will get through it – together.

They said it has been an opportunity to spend time with the people most important to them.

They also said that we in New Zealand at the start of our journey should appreciate the enforced down time, and that they will miss it when returning to the hectic fast-paced world.

Finally they said it has given them an appreciation for the little things of life. 

They ended by saying: ‘Listen to what you are told, follow the rules and look out for each other. There is light at the end of the tunnel.’  

I’ll be back tomorrow to give you another update.