I sense that many are breathing a sigh of relief as this week the restrictions have relaxed so that groups of six, or two households, can meet outside (socially distanced from those not in your own household.) Working from home is still advised to help minimise journeys although the ‘stay at home’ guidance has been lifted. And people are really enjoying the fact that outdoor sport is now possible. The Blackbrook Tennis Centre is positively buzzing and the golf courses, like Pickeridge, have come alive. After the long lockdown we are all so aware of the vital part sport and outdoor activity plays in relation to our physical and mental health. Great news in relation to the boom in restaurant bookings across the constituency as people look forward to when these will re-open. As ever please remember the wash hands, cover faces, give people space mantra and only meet others in the fresh air.
It is remarkable that over 30 million first vaccine doses have been delivered; and I have had assurances that the second jab is on track with the 12-week interval. I would urge everyone to have their jab when the opportunity arises to ensure we get through this.
Waterways have been in sharp focus this week in my role as Environment Minister. Improving water quality is one of my top priorities. I was therefore delighted to confirm that measures to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows (used far too frequently) will be put into law. It is an important step (though one of many) to provide greater protection for our water environment and the wildlife that relies on it.
Locally, I was pleased to bring a range of businesses together for a Department for International Trade event (on zoom) to raise awareness of services the Department provides to grow businesses internationally focusing on support for exporting. There is growing opportunity.
I also really appreciated meeting with and hearing about the valuable work the churches across Wellington are doing to support the community through these difficult times; so much good work has been underway as everyone pulls together.
Finally, I would like to wish you all a happy and peaceful Easter.