Mayoral update for 3 April

3 April 2020

Kia ora Wellington, from what I’m seeing and hearing, you are doing a great job of staying safe, staying home, exercising locally, keeping physical separation, and following the Ministry of Health hygiene procedures.

We have to beat this virus, and beat it quickly.

That way we save lives, and it gets us out of lockdown more quickly.

It also reduces the significant damage to our economy, businesses and employees.

Earlier in the week I talked about concerns raised about large numbers of people gathering on Mount Victoria lookout, and that we might reluctantly have to close it.

We’ve been monitoring it and I am really pleased that you are heeding those messages.

That’s great – thank you everyone! Let’s keep that up.

Talking recreation, you’ll have noticed there are more dogs out and about as people enjoy their daily exercise.

It’s crucial we and our pets get fresh air and exercise.

Dogs are probably having the time of their lives during the lockdown – owners home all day and getting plenty of walks.

But we’re also getting complaints about dogs being left to run about off-leash, and people not picking up after their pets.

That’s not cool.

Be kind - dogs must always be kept on a lead, or well under control in off-lead areas.

If a dog wanders from its bubble and it is touched by someone with the virus, that dog could take Covid-19 home with it.

Nobody wants that, so please keep dogs separate.

And as for picking up after your canine friends – come on everyone…

We’ve also had complaints about neighbours burning rubbish, and sending smoke across people’s properties.

We all need be courteous to those living near us - as I know the vast majority of us are.

With everyone home most of the time that becomes even more important.

Remember, we’re all in this together, and we’ll get through this faster – and stronger – if we all stick together.

I want to reiterate your Council’s next steps in planning to soften the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our city.

Councillors, management and I met yesterday to look at a whole suite of initiatives to help get Wellington back on its feet.

We’ve developed a Pandemic Response and Recovery Plan with a large number of initiatives in it that aim to cut the cost of doing business and also help to ‘pump-prime’ the local economy into recovery.

I talked at length about the details of that yesterday.

We’re also looking to defer the payment of the 2019/20 fourth-quarter rates bill for at least six months for ratepayers who need financial breathing space.

I’ve asked Council officials to develop a possible list of ‘shovel-ready’ capital projects that could be brought forward - with Government assistance - to keep people in employment.

Councillors have come up with some good proposals too.

Overall, I was really pleased at the positive tone of the workshop.

More information about all of these initiatives will be available on the Council website on Monday.

This includes all the documents we’ll be discussing at Thursday’s Council meeting.

Finally, I want to quickly re-iterate today’s words from Sarah Stuart-Black, Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management.

“We’re all in this together.

“Do get outdoors for some fresh air and exercise, but stay local.

“Travel should be restricted to the essential and for people to buy food or medical supplies.

“Thank you to everyone for everything you’re doing to make sure that we’re able to unite against Covid-19.”

Kia kaha Wellington.