Mayoral opinion piece

As the first week of isolation draws to a close we need to appreciate how this has been possible. Despite our access being restricted in so many ways there are a number of roles we are being asked to play.

For many it is to stay home, another is the role of essential workers, who in doing their jobs enable us to remain in in our bubbles with access to life’s essentials. For many of them it means a higher level of restriction around their own relationships as they try to manage the impact of being in an essential service on their close friends and family.

In doing this people must leave their homes and families and go to work. They are not breaking the rules nor are they travelling beyond the purpose of their roles. They are delivering a much-needed service to the country and other parts of the world. New Zealand is not alone experiencing isolation conditions with many other countries taking similar steps to slow the virus’ progress.

The common need internationally is the steady and secure supply of food. Our primary industries are in the ideal position to meet that need, here and abroad. They have the knowledge, expertise and experience as some of the best producers in the world.

Those involved in the food chain do not have any greater privileges. They are putting themselves at risk to deliver essential services to those having to work from and stay at home. Nearly all the people involved have been in their roles before the crisis began, a sizable number from other countries.

The majority of international workers have either, not chosen to or were unable to travel home, to ride this period out. They will likely be here for a lot longer than the isolation period as it will take a lot longer for international travel to resume as before.

Kiwis may think this period is onerous as they can’t get to meet with friends or do what they would normally do – spare a thought for the people who cannot get home but are still delivering essential services.

Alongside the food producers we have supermarket staff, medical personnel, cleaners and transport providers, amongst others, seemingly worlds apart but they are all on the front line. Please don’t judge, they have been caught by circumstance, just as we all have. Be kind, stay in your bubble save lives.

Tasman Mayor Tim King