Auckland, March 30, 2020
We are all in this together, and we will get through this.
We are in unprecedented times right now. It seems as though that line is said at least once every hour now, and repeated regularly, but unfortunately, true.
Covid-19 has affected the whole world and devastated economies. .
I have never experienced something like this in my lifetime, and a lot of you will be the same.
Responses around the world have varied. Some nations have been more effective than others.
Rising cases in New Zealand
New Zealand has not been immune, we have seen the case numbers surge as the virus spreads and more tests are carried out.
New Zealanders naturally have a ‘we will be right’ attitude to things. Some of us can be sometimes be a bit relaxed.
But the health officials have laid out what we all have to do to help combat coronavirus, and we have to do it.
We have to stay at home, not just for ourselves but for our parents, our grandparents, our immune-comprised friends and family members.
It will be tough but generations of Kiwis have, throughout history, made great sacrifices to safeguard our way of life. This is our turn.
This is an incredibly important time for our nation, and will come at a cost.
National Party support
The National Party supports the Government as it takes action against this virus.
We have talked to experts; we have listened to them every day and we have seen the international experience. The spread of Covid-19 is relentless internationally.
So we stand alongside the Government, supporting and assisting the orderly shutdown of New Zealand. Because this is about lives and livelihoods and for the good of our country, not politics.
National will continue to take a constructive and principled approach to scrutinising the Government’s response to Covid-19 through the Epidemic Response Committee.
It is important that there is strong scrutiny of our nation’s response to this pandemic as it will affect future generations, both in terms of lives but also in terms of the billions of dollars being spent by the Government.
National will be asking the questions that New Zealanders want answered.
What we know right now, is that if we didn’t go into lockdown, if we continued as we were before, thousands of lives could be lost. I don’t want to see that and I know New Zealand doesn’t want to see that either.
It is better to look back and say, ‘this lockdown was an overreaction,’ than allow people to die needlessly.
The next few weeks will be tough but we can do it.
The Government will continue to have our support as long as it is moving expeditiously to protect those lives and livelihoods.
We want to protect workers and their jobs as much as possible, we want to see businesses reopen once this period of isolation is over.
While we are all stuck at home, it is important that you still check on your loved ones across the country, and on your neighbours.
While that check may have to be a phone call, you cannot underestimate how important that will be, especially for our elderly.
I want to thank our supermarket workers, our petrol station attendants, our IT professionals, our essential infrastructure and health workers all over this nation, our police and defence and other first responders, plus many, many more keeping New Zealand going.
You are heroes.
I am confident we can show our best nature as Kiwis, following the rules and showing small acts of kindness during this tough time.
We are all in this together without exception, united against Covid-19.
We will get through this, together.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has been a Member of Parliament on National Party List (Manukau East) since November 2008. He is the Party’s Spokesperson for Internal Affairs and Associate Spokesperson for Justice.