I know many of you will be feeling anxious about the health and livelihoods of your families and community at this time.
I am fully supportive of the Government’s decision to elevate New Zealand’s alert level to Level 4 in order to halt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the growing number of infections across New Zealand and the confirmation of community transmission, there is no room for complacency.
Our job now is to stay local, remain solitary and avoid physical contact with anyone outside of our immediate households. I know this will bring with it a range of challenges for many, including parents trying to juggle working from home with supervising children engaging in online learning, and older people living alone feeling isolated and needing assistance to get supplies.
As your local MP for Selwyn I am here to help and support you. While my staff and I are confined to our homes like everyone else, we remain available to you by phone or email as usual so please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can assist in any way or if you are aware of anyone who is struggling and needs help or advice.
Health Information and advice
The most up-to-date health information on Covid-19 is available on the Ministry of Health's website www.health.govt.nz. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or have other urgent health needs, call Healthline free on 0800 358 5453.
More general information about New Zealand’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus and responses to the social and economic impacts of the virus can be found at www.covid19.govt.nz.
Business and Employment Support
The Government has released a package of financial support for businesses and employees, contractors and the self-employed. For information on the support that may be available to you and to apply for support, visit www.workandincome.govt.nz.
If you are concerned that you “fall between the gaps” or are having difficulty accessing support, please contact me.
Mental health and community wellbeing
Many people in our community are feeling isolated and vulnerable right now. Some don’t have access to the internet and may need additional information or help with deliveries, food or other services so it is important we keep in touch via phone or social media. For those over 70s who are not connected to the internet, it is vital to ensure they have a neighbour or relative to check on them via phone and drop supplies to their door when needed.
This is an incredibly challenging time for everybody and it is important to look after yourself. Getting out of the house for a walk or a bike ride around your local area can make a huge difference to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Essential services remain open. These include supermarkets and petrol stations. However, in terms of supermarket shopping the Government has recommended that households nominate one person, who is healthy and well, to go out to get essential supplies.
I want to acknowledge the efforts of all of our essential service workers during this time. This includes our doctors, nurses and other health professionals, our supermarket workers, our petrol station attendants, our IT professionals, our police, defence force and other first responders, and those involved in making and transporting food items and other essential goods, as well as many others.
If you have questions relating to whether or not a business is an essential service you can contact 0508 377 388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rural support for those affected by drought
The Government recently extended support for farmers and growers affected by the current drought to a number of districts around the country including Selwyn, Christchurch, Hurunui and Waimakariri. This means Rural Assistance Payments equal to Jobseeker Support are available to local farmers and growers, as well as tax relief measures and hardship grants. For information on the support available, contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 or go to www.rural-support.org.nz.
The Government has also indicated that it will be offering tax relief for farmers who suffered herd losses due to Mycoplasma Bovis. Details are available at www.taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/bovis.
Hot Cross Bun recipe
Given that we are all going to be spending so much time within our own homes and will not be able to pop down to our local bakeries for our hot cross buns, I have included a hot cross bun recipe below for those who would like to try baking their own.
This recipe comes courtesy of a staff member in the Parliamentary Library and I have it on good authority that the buns are delicious!
Hot cross buns
If using a bread maker, place the above ingredients in the pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. If kneading by hand or using a cake mixer, add the dry ingredients to a bowl, make a hole in the centre of the dry ingredients and then add the butter, water and egg. Mix the ingredients together until a dough forms and knead for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 10 balls and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (approx. 30 minutes).
To make the crosses, rub the butter into the flour then add enough water to make a stiff dough. Roll out the mixture very thinly, brush with beaten egg and cut into strips. Place the strips carefully egg-side down on the risen buns.
Bake the buns in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
While buns are baking make the glaze.
Boil together the milk and sugar until syrupy and then brush the glaze over the buns while they are still warm.
Hon Amy Adams