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Make Sure You Go Local When You Can - Whanganui Chronicle 08 May 2020

As I write from the comparative isolation of home, the world feels like quite a different place than it did five or six weeks ago when we entered level 4 lockdown.

For a start, we have seemingly avoided the worst of Covid-19 and our isolation and restrictions have certainly played a great role in that, as has our ability to secure our border.

There is an advantage to being a small group of islands at the bottom of the world with a very efficient and effective moat.

The move to level 3 was welcomed by many. The difference between level 3 and level 4 is an increase in economic activity.

The numbers able to work are projected to double to around a million. It's great for forestry, construction and manufacturing, but it still leaves much of the country playing a waiting game and in the case of many small businesses there will be financial ruin.

I am particularly concerned about our region's cafes, bakeries, restaurants and bars, along with hairdressers, beauty salons and independent retail stores.

Just a couple of months ago these places were thriving and they added a certain vibrancy and unique social dynamic to our towns.

So, if you're able to support a local business over the next couple of weeks by ordering a n takeout meal or making an online purchase from a local store, then, within the current constraints I would really encourage you to go ahead and do it.

Buying locally has never been so vitally important to businesses in local communities.

t As we move to recover from the inevitable economic shock of this pandemic we need to recognise New Zealand's one huge advantage - that's our ability to produce food for the world.

While any international recession will cause challenges around market access, transport and price, the export receipts earned by selling our meat, fish, vegetables, milk, fibre and wood offshore are vital to our economic revival.

Please continue to take care and stay safe.

Call me if you need help with anything during these unusual times because we're all in this together.

Ian McKelvie's Rangitikei electorate includes Tangimoana, Tokomaru and Shannon.

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