Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Covid comeback is on!

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Botany-based Labour List MP Naisi Chen says it’s good to see people out and about at cafes again. Times file photo Wayne Martin
  • By Naisi Chen, Labour List MP based in Botany

Over the weekend, I saw something exciting around east Auckland.

It was happening in the cafes in Howick, at the shops in the Botany Town Centre and around Barry Curtis Park in Ormiston. People were back.

New Zealand’s successful response to the Omicron outbreak and our high vaccination rates meant last week we were able to announce changes to the Covid-19 Protection Framework.

Removing My Vaccine Pass and mandates has allowed us to live more normal lives.

As we come off the Omicron peak, we need to be cautious of overreacting – not moving too soon into Orange Light (or Green Light as the Leader of the Opposition demanded in December 2021).

However, we can support greater economic activity while protecting those who need it most.

Although our economy is now larger than pre-Covid levels, with record low unemployment and tourism about to reopen, many Kiwis are feeling the pinch.

That’s why last Friday, we gave 1.4 million Kiwis an income boost with a massive package of support.

Families, caregivers, seniors, beneficiaries, students, commuters and minimum wage earners especially will see the benefit of this.

When I talked to locals over the weekend, they were upbeat about the future. One café owner told me they were having their busiest week since the Omicron outbreak began.

Reducing Covid-19 restrictions while giving an income boost to those who are struggling will do that. New Zealand is gaining momentum and it’s shining through on the streets of east Auckland.

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