Much riding on smooth vaccine delivery

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If Covid-19 has taught us anything it is to never be complacent.

This time last year we were monitoring the situation with Covid-19, as New Zealand was dealing with its first cases of the virus and travel restrictions had been put in place.

Little did we know in just one month the entire country would be in lockdown.

With 2020 behind us, there was much hope with vaccinations on the way, lockdowns would become avoidable.

Last week’s community cases have reminded us otherwise  – our battle is far from over.

It is pleasing to see Covid-19 vaccinations have finally started with our border workers.

I want to see a smooth rollout of the vaccine as we need to do all we can to protect ourselves from further lockdowns.

While we know vaccinations are under way and there is the start of a plan in place, the work needs to be done now to ensure the remaining rollout of the vaccine over coming months is a success.

No-one wants a repeat of last season’s flu shot issues, and we can’t afford a patchy delivery.

A lot hinges on the success of the vaccine’s rollout and those countries who get it right will have the front foot.

We’re a small island nation, with a small population, so we should be quick off the mark.

It’s fantastic that the North Otago A&P Show is able to go ahead as planned tomorrow.

Our A&P shows are vital community events, which showcase our agriculture sector, bringing country to town.

Good luck to all of those involved for another successful event – I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there.

Submissions closed on the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill on Monday and I’ve been advocating for our high country farmers on this in the House.

I’m incredibly concerned about the difficult and unfair position some of these farmers would be put in by this Bill.

Last week, I spoke in the House about the issue and gave the minister my suggestion for improving the Bill – withdraw it.

For more than 60 years lessees have worked with the Crown in partnership to care for our high country.

This Bill will destroy this partnership.

It will create a regime where our high country farmers require numerous consents for what many would consider simple day-to-day activity on farms, like fencing.

It is clear the Bill aims to put an end to farming in the high country, as it will become uneconomic and untenable over time.

This will lead to poor environmental outcomes as areas become overgrown and unmanageable.

The National Party opposes this Bill and will not sit back while our high country farmers are the latest victim of an anti-farming crusade.

Since my last column, I have contacted the minister about the replacement of the Kakanui Bridge.

For the safety and security of the people of the Waitaki, this bridge needs to be upgraded and we need the government to assist in this.

There has been ample opportunity for the government to support the renewal of the Kakanui Bridge to date, which has not been given.

I have asked the minister to look favourably on supporting the upgrade of this bridge in the future.

  • Jacqui Dean is the MP for Waitaki