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Freedom Camping

A joint message from Hawke's Bay's leaders

Tihei mauri ora.

You're no doubt aware the New Zealand Government has moved to the next steps in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We, as the region's leaders, fully support this move.

Here in Hawke's Bay, we are ready to do everything we can to support the national effort, and our local communities. While the steps the government has taken are unprecedented, we are in unprecedented times. We cannot stress enough that we, as a region and as a country, do not want to pay the very high price that other countries have paid.

And we cannot stress enough how vital it is that each and every one of us respects and follows the official guidance - and in doing so, protects ourselves and our communities.

We know this has huge social, economic and financial implications for everyone in Hawke's Bay and we're doing what we can to help our communities through this.

Regionally, our local councils, Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, District Health Board and Public Health Units are working together closely to make our communities' journey through COVID-19 as smooth as possible.

We as a region are focusing on people who are most at risk of falling through the gaps - people who might not have ready access to the family and community support that many of us take for granted.

The Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group has activated its emergency coordination centre, with a focus on providing welfare services to help people access the support they need. While most people will be able to manage self-isolation on their own or with help from their family and friends, the group is putting plans in place to help those who really need it, by coordinating with other agencies to help meet the basic needs of those who are struggling.

We echo the Prime Minister's comments that now is not the time to make things more difficult for other people, by buying more than we need, ignoring self-isolation rules, or unnecessarily burdening others. At any Alert Level, essential services, including supermarkets, banks, GPs, pharmacies, service stations, couriers and other important frontline service providers, will continue.

We absolutely urge you to not stock up on goods or produce. By allowing supermarket workers the time to restock, supermarkets will have plenty of supplies to go around. Shopping as normal will allow supermarkets to manage supply and demand.

Organise any medication repeats and check in on elder relatives or vulnerable people over the phone, to make sure they have everything they need.

Ensure you are connecting with others by non-physical means to ensure you maintain connections and mental wellbeing, such as via Facebook messenger, Skype, or by just picking up the phone.

By working together, we can lessen the impact on our community and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Once again, we encourage you to follow all official health advice and stay updated by visiting https://covid19.govt.nz

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker

Hawke's Bay Regional Council Chair Rex Graham

Hawke's Bay District Health Board Chair Shayne Walker

Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chair Ngahiwi Tomoana

24 March 2020

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