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Editorial

Here in Queenstown like all over New Zealand, we’re almost at a standstill.

April 7 2020 by Hamish Walker, MP for Clutha-Southland

Here in Queenstown like all over New Zealand, we’re almost at a standstill.
Across the basin we are getting used to the living in lockdown as it becomes the new normal.
I don’t think anyone was prepared for what Coronavirus would mean for us here in Queenstown.
It has had huge ramifications for our economy, but also for our people with businesses having to close and hundreds of job losses.
We are unique and are heavily reliant on the tourism sector and migrant workers.
Two out of every three people in Queenstown work in the tourism industry, compared to 1.4 out of 10 across the country.
I have been contacted by many people here in Queenstown who have either lost their job, are worried they can’t pay their rent or those who can’t get home.
In the worst situations, they are all three, migrants who have lost their jobs on work visas and cannot get home.
After lobbying various Ministers, it was pleasing to see the Government announce some progress on the latter and also assistance for people stuck in Queenstown who can’t get home overseas.
We are very fortunate though to have a wonderful community who supports one another. We have to take each day as it comes at present and what this means for the months to come is not yet known.
All we do know is that we have to do all we can now to protect ourselves and keep this virus at bay.
To do this we need to follow the rules, and stay home unless heading out to get essential items or exercising, or travelling to work if you are an essential service.
We have never been through anything like this ever before, we have to work through it all day by day.
The key in all of this is to look after yourself and your loved ones.
Make time to call those old friends or the family members you don’t see often.
While we have to be physically apart, we don’t have to be distant.
Keep up to date with what is going on through the Covid-19 website https://covid19.govt.nz/
As of Monday (April 6) evening we currently have over 63 cases in the Queenstown Lakes area, some which are linked to the Hereford Conference which was held here earlier last month, so let’s work to stop this spread.
We had a scary situation very close to home when all 83 of our staff at the Lakes District Hospital who had worked the previous 14 days had to be tested after two nurses tested positive.
While everyone is now back on deck, it reminds us how valuable our health services team are and provides us with a scary thought as to what could have been.
To our health services team - thank you for everything you do.
To all of you - if need anything, remember I am here to help, so contact me by emailing hamish.walkermp@parliament.govt.nz
Look after yourselves and look after each other.

Hamish Walker
MP for Clutha-Southland

- Hamish Walker, MP for Clutha-Southland
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