Doing what we love this summer

Labour List MP Naisi Chen says Kiwis should be able to look forward to a good summer. Times photo
  • By Naisi Chen, Labour List MP based in Botany

Let’s not mince words – it’s been a tough couple of months for east Auckland. But with the success of Super Sunday, we can begin to look ahead to a real Kiwi summer.

A few weeks ago, the Government set out the new Covid-19 Protection Framework. This will help protect New Zealanders into the future, while providing a pathway out of lockdowns, offering certainty to businesses and giving vaccinated people more options.

The framework will also allow businesses to fully open to vaccinated customers at green and orange and continue to operate with some restrictions at red. Businesses that choose to open to unvaccinated customers will face restrictions and, in some cases, won’t be able to open.

We’re mandating vaccination for workers at businesses where customers need to show Covid-19 Vaccination Certificates to make those workplaces as safe as possible and give confidence to staff and customers.

However, that all depends on our vaccination rates. Auckland will transition into this new framework once 90 per cent of eligible people in each of Auckland’s three DHBs are fully vaccinated, so if you haven’t already, it’s critical you get your first dose soon.

To help our businesses make it through, we’ve also doubled the Resurgence Support Payment so that businesses can access up to $43,000 every fortnight.

Last week the Government also announced the next steps for our Three Waters reform. Despite the rhetoric, Auckland Council’s own plan is to double your water bill to $2261 on average by 2031. In contrast, we decrease projected costs to just $800 per household and deliver you $1000 per year in savings!

Part of this is because Auckland Council is near its debt capacity. Watercare remains constrained by Auckland Council’s balance sheet, limiting the ability to invest in this infrastructure. Plus as a bonus, the Government’s ‘better off’ package will also provide $507 million for Auckland Council to invest in community wellbeing.

Opposing this policy is taking money out of your back pocket and saddling the next generation with avoidable debt. Instead of politicking, the opposition needs to look at the numbers and get on board with a policy that will save money and allow more investment in vital water infrastructure.