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Stay home and save lives this Easter; North local body leaders

7 Apr 2020, 3:46 PM

Northland’s mayors and regional council chair have issued a plea to would-be holidaymakers not to travel to – or within – Northland for what would have been their traditional Easter break.

The Northland Mayoral Forum includes the mayors of the three districts that make up the region; John Carter (Far North), Sheryl Mai (Whangarei) and Jason Smith (Kaipara) – and their Northland Regional Council equivalent, Chair Penny Smart.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, 07 April forum members urged holidaymakers not to travel to – or within – Northland this Easter.

‘We know there are many people who have a long association with holidaying at baches and holiday homes in Northland, and it will be hard to accept that – this Easter - they won’t get to spend time in them or carry out maintenance on them.

‘Some have also raised the fact that they pay rates within the region. However, it’s been made clear from the outset that people must reside at the same place for the duration of the time New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and travelling for Easter doesn’t meet the ‘stay local’ definition.

More recently, the Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, issued a Health Notice providing additional guidance on the rules around Alert Level 4 to ensure its success and help move the country out of lockdown as soon as possible, reiterating that everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for essential personal movement.

Dr Bloomfield commented: “Everyone has one job to do in helping to stamp out the virus, and that is to stay at home and follow the rules.”

The mayors and chair also pointed out that an influx of further visitors – which had already been evident in a number of locations – would place added demands on health services, supermarkets and drinking water supplies which are still under pressure from the extended drought.

‘The fulltime residents in these communities which have seen people arriving since the start of Alert Level 4 have concerns about all of these aspects. They’re also extremely aware of the underlying principle behind staying at home: breaking the chain of transmission.'

‘We know this will come as a sacrifice to many. Easter 2020 needs to be remembered as the time everyone stayed at home to save lives.'

Northland Mayoral Forum members include (from left); Sheryl Mai (Whangarei Mayor) Penny Smart (Northland Regional Council Chair), John Carter (Far North Mayor) and Jason Smith (Kaipara Mayor).

Northland Mayoral Forum members include (from left); Sheryl Mai (Whangarei Mayor) Penny Smart (Northland Regional Council Chair), John Carter (Far North Mayor) and Jason Smith (Kaipara Mayor).