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I hope this newsletter finds you well.

The Epidemic Response Committee will meet (virtually) each week to scrutinise all aspects of the Governments response to the Covid-19 epidemic, asking the questions you want the answers to.

You can watch the Committee live each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am on Freeview Channel 31 or Sky Channel 86 or view both live and past Committees here: www.parliament.nz/watch-erc

 

Although banks are encouraging customers to continue using online and phone banking services during lockdown some are open briefly.

Kiwibank will open a limited number of branches on Wednesdays between 10 am – 1 pm. Visit https://www.kiwibank.co.nz/contact-us/support-hub/coronavirus-updates/changes-branch-hours/ for more information.

ANZ will open around 60 branches on Wednesdays between 9 am – 12 pm. Visit https://www.anz.co.nz/here-to-help/banking-services/#branch.html for more information.

Westpac branches will open on Wednesdays 10 am - 1 pm. Visit: https://www.westpac.co.nz/who-we-are/covid-19/branches-and-atms/ for more information.

 

As it is tax time this website may be useful www.ird.govt.nz/roles/tax-agents/covid-19

Also, a warning that scams are common this time of year, so be aware. If you are unsure about an email, text message or phone call you receive, call the organisation to check if it is legitimate.

 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has signalled no rates will increase, no other council has made any comment to date regarding rates increases or freeze. 

 

Eastern Bay Publications will not be printing or distributing its paper for the remainder of the isolation period. However, The Beacon is publishing content online Wednesdays and Fridays, copies will also be available in supermarkets. Opotiki News can also be found online, in supermarkets and will be delivered rurally on Thursdays. The Gisborne Herald is still publishing daily.

 

Following a couple of years of promising growth, the solar power industry in NZ is in severe trouble. Due to Covid-19, clients are wary of making any investment and many projects have been suspended indefinitely. Solar produces a clear financial benefit in power savings and is relatively simple to retrofit on existing public buildings. It can be financed with little or no capital outlay, with ongoing monthly savings essentially paying for the infrastructure. Plus it is in line with sustainability policies that were already well in place before the crisis hit. The industry supports a positive response to Climate Change and with the industry now being in trouble, there is risk Covid-19 may set back the momentum this response is creating.

 

Federated Farmers are keeping MPs up to date with their discussions with Government Ministers and agencies, and we are feeding the information through to the special select committee providing oversight. Of particular concern is 31 May/1 June, the annual “Gypsy Day” or “Moving Day”. This is a stressful enough time in a normal year and many people are understandably concerned about how the Covid-19 restrictions will affect their ability to move their family, herd and machinery. You can contact me or Todd.muller@parliament.govt.nz, Todd’s National’s rural spokesman, and we will put through your concerns. 

 

Don’t forget to regularly check www.covid19.govt.nz for the most up to date information. Keep active and healthy this week but remember to stay local - if you have to drive there it isn’t local!

Stay home - save lives

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