All must fight economic ‘virus’

by Andy Bryenton

While last week’s governmental economic relief package, designed to tackle the threat of the global Covid-19 pandemic, was heavy on measures to bolster our medical services and response, the overwhelming theme was one of protection and recovery from the economic impact of the virus.

Much of the $12 billion package was focussed on mitigating the downturn in industries inevitably affected by the slowdown of global trade.

On a local scale, and aside from the government response, however, the message from business and community leaders is clear. Support your local businesses. Don’t let fear control your finances. Business goes on as usual, except for the relatively non-invasive measures required to ensure public health.

Retailers confirm that ‘panic buying’ is counterproductive in a nation, which produces vast amounts of primary products, including, pointedly, toilet tissue.

MPI assessments state that our agricultural sector can feed 40 million people at current capacity, even in a drought. Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin took to broadcast television to urge calm.

“The supply chain in New Zealand is in good shape. New Zealand is a net producer of food, and we have the ability to keep up. If customers shop as normally as they can we will do a good job,” he says.

Meanwhile, tradespeople say that social media rumours that they will refuse to come out to work at private addresses due to the fear of the virus, which has not been detected in Northland, are spurious.

Plumbers, electricians and builders in Dargaville continue to operate as usual. Residents with issues that need addressing in these fields are reminded, however, that it’s best to face the potential of self-isolation with all amenities checked and working. Dargaville local and charity event organiser Marni Stewart may put it best:

“If you can do just one thing today, shop local and buy something from a small business. Make that effort.”