It is time.
Though that statement may appear a little vague, I think many of you will know what I am talking about.
It is time to move towards a normal everyday life, a normal North Otago and a normal New Zealand.
After the toughest of two›year stints and with Omicron now moving towards a peak, now is the time for communities like ours to start preparing for our futures.
For North Otago it has been two years of restrictions, sacrifices and doing the right thing for the health and wellbeing of own families, as well as others. With more than 95% of us vaccinated and 85% of people in every DHB aged over 60 boosted, New Zealand is well placed to move forward.
At the time of writing this column, New Zealanders were put through two unnecessary days of waiting to hear about vital changes after Cabinet met on Monday and agreed to adjust mandates rules and the Covid framework.
A two-day wait to announce those changes continued the theme of the past two years during which the Government would drip›feed information that would have a huge impact on communities like North Otago.
Though there could never be certainty in the midst of a pandemic, there could have been clear and decisive leadership and practical decision›making.
During that time, National has urged the Government to deliver just that in our role as a robust and constructive opposition.
This was evident this week when National delivered its Covid planning well before the Government made its decisions, which included dropping scanning requirements for businesses, vaccine pass requirements for all but large indoor events, as well as getting rid of vaccine mandates for people aged under 18.
National has also urged the Government to get a handle on New Zealand’s economy for some time now.
Though we face a volatile international situation, there are many tools within the Government’s reach which will put an end to the current cost of living crisis.
It starts with the reining in of wild Government spending on unnecessary projects like the Three Waters Reforms and putting a halt to Labour’s plans for a record spend in the upcoming Budget.
What has become very clear in recent weeks is that New Zealanders are welcoming the alternative direction National is offering. Polls are not everything in politics but they do capture some of the mood in our country.
Right now, it is one that is wanting an immediate return to normality and a new approach to Government and that leads New Zealand back to prosperity. Making it a reality for North Otago is not only something I am working hard on, it is exciting to be a part of.
Jacqui Dean is the Member of Parliament for Waitaki