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A to Z: Our COVID-19 response

We went hard and we went early in our health response to COVID-19, and we did everything we could to cushion the economic impact too. In fact, we can fill every letter of the alphabet with the steps we took to fight COVID-19 and ensure we were in a position to build back better. Read below for the A-Z of our COVID-19 response…

Alert Levels: Everyone (should!) know about these by now. At the beginning of our response to COVID we we’re at Alert Level 4 and we’re currently at Alert Level 1, which means there are no restrictions to everyday life, but there are controls at the…..

Borders: Borders are our first line of defence against the virus. It’s important we have strong, secure practices at our borders to identify any positive cases and keep New Zealanders protected. That's why our borders are only open to returning Kiwis and a small number of exceptions, and that we're making sure when people get here, they stay isolated until we know they no longer pose a health threat.

Contact tracing: One of the key ways we’re fighting COVID-19 is to identify, trace, and isolate cases and their close contacts to prevent future spread. That’s why, in addition to closing our border and ramping up testing, we also launched the NZ COVID Tracer app, so you can keep a digital diary of the places you’ve visited.

Distance learning: We delivered learning packs and devices, and sorted internet access for families without it, to help students learn from home during lockdown.

Economic management: Because of our careful economic management pre-COVID, we started out in a much stronger fiscal position than many other countries. The rainy day we were planning for arrived – but we were prepared. 

Five point plan: Investing in our people, creating jobs, preparing for the future, supporting small businesses, and positioning us globally. Those are the five key ways we’re going to rebuild our economy better than before.

Go hard, Go early: From the start, we knew the best economic response was a strong health response. And it paid off - so far, we’ve managed to eliminate community transmission and safely open our economy back up much quicker than many other countries.

Housing for vulnerable people: We collaborated to provide over 1,000 vulnerable people with a place to stay in motels, effectively eliminating rough sleeping during lockdown and keeping vulnerable homeless people safe from the potential spread of COVID-19.

Immunisation: This year, a record number of New Zealanders got the flu vaccine. More people vaccinated against the flu meant fewer people in hospitals, and less pressure on our health system while dealing with COVID-19.

Jobs, jobs, jobs! This one’s an easy one to think of, because we’ve been saying it a lot! We’re focused on jobs: protecting jobs and creating jobs in key industries essential for our economic recovery, so we can….

Keep moving! We’ve got to keep our economy moving and roll out the rest of our rebuild plan. That's going to take all of us coming together, like we did as a team of five million during lockdown, and is  why we’re asking you to vote Labour this election. 

Loans for small businesses: Interest-free loans were just one of the measures we put in place to help small and medium-sized businesses get back on their feet. So far, businesses across New Zealand have applied for over $1.5 billion in interest-free loans.

Mass gatherings: Restricting large groups of people coming together was a major way we worked to eliminate the spread of the virus. This was difficult for many of us, but it was the right thing to do, and it worked.

Neighbours: Level 4 was difficult for many Kiwis, but it was  heartening to see so many New Zealanders finding innovative ways to look out for each other - whether it was dropping groceries off for a neighbour, or putting a teddy bear or an Easter egg in their window.

Overseas exports and trade: Our export industries have remained strong throughout the pandemic – and we’re continuing to expand our trade relationships and support our exporters, including launching free trade talks with the UK and the EU.

Physical distancing: Lockdown meant we had to go a while without hugs from some of our family and friends – it was tough but we did it and the results we’ve achieved show it was worth it.

Quarantine: All returning New Zealanders are required to complete 14 days in an isolation facility and return negative tests. Quarantine is how we safely welcome New Zealanders home, while ensuring we keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand. 

Rebuild: Roads, schools, hospitals and more: our infrastructure investments are a key way we’re keeping New Zealand moving and rebuilding our economy. All in all, these projects will create over 20,000 jobs!

Small businesses: We’ve already mentioned interest-free loans, but our support for small businesses goes much wider. We’ve given small businesses more than $3 billion in tax refunds, provided assistance with technology and e-commerce, and backed our exporters to connect with overseas markets.

Testing: Testing continues to be a key weapon in our fight against COVID-19 in New Zealand. It helps us identify cases and track how well our efforts are working. To date, we’ve administered over 450,000 tests.

Unite against COVID-19: In the face of a global pandemic, our team of five million stood strong and united. We stayed home, we saved lives, and we stamped the virus out together.

Vaccine: We’ve joined the global search for a vaccine for the virus, and we’re developing a National Immunisation Solution, so that we’re ready to roll out a mass vaccination programme.

Wage Subsidy: The Wage Subsidy was set up as a lifeline for businesses through lockdown - allowing them to keep staff on even when they couldn’t operate as normal. The wage subsidy has now directly benefited around 1.7 million people. 

Xtra funding for Pharmac and PPE: Just recently, we’ve boosted PHARMAC to make sure New Zealanders can continue to get the medicines they need, and we’ve invested over $50 million more in PPE, to keep our health workers safe.

You: All five million of you, who stayed home and saved lives, and who continue to help our recovery by buying local and supporting businesses. And it’s because of you, that we currently have...

Zero: new cases of community transmission: The fight isn’t over - but it’s a real testament to each and every New Zealander that we went hard and early, pulled together, and saved lives. Let’s keep moving.