This summer will be our first under COVID conditions. In the past year New Zealand has significantly lifted its ability to respond to COVID.
But we know the pandemic is raging overseas and this is a tricky virus.
That’s why we’ve outlined extensive all-of-government planning in the event of a community case of COVID over the holidays, and arranged support for businesses affected by any resurgence.
There are little things we can do to protect ourselves and our whānau from the virus this summer: staying home if we’re sick, keeping track of where we go, and practising good hygiene.
Going hard and early has put us in a good position. Now we get to enjoy the kind of festive season many other countries can only dream of. We just need to remain vigilant.
This year we’ll purchase COVID vaccines from a range of pharmaceutical companies so that every New Zealander can be vaccinated. Plus we’ve agreed to establish travel bubbles with Australia and the Cook Islands in the first quarter of next year, pending no significant change in circumstances. There is plenty to look forward to.
I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone here in Tauranga a very safe and happy new year and best wishes for 2021. I also want to thank our essential workers who might not get a break these holidays. Your dedication serves as an example to us all.