Kia Ora and welcome to the January 2022 newsletter, I hope you enjoyed a relaxing summer doing the activities you love with friends and family.
This week we moved into Red Alert due to community cases of Omicron. At 2pm today, Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall will provide an update on the Government’s three-phase approach to managing Omicron.
For the time being we’re open remotely and will be regularly reassessing opening the physical office to constituents. We welcome constituent meetings between 10-2pm Tuesday to Thursday online via zoom, and phone calls or emails. To contact our office please call 09 834 2150 or email Vanushi.waltersMP@parliament.govt.nz.
More on COVID-19
Head online to learn more about Life at Red. Another important way people can prepare for Omicron is by making a plan, including making sure you and your family have a buddy – like a neighbour or a friend – who can help you out by delivering things that you need if you do become unwell. Resources to help you do this are on the Unite Against Covid-19 website.
Please remember to wear a mask and bring your Vaccine Pass. Check the latest places of interest.
The Leave Support Scheme is available to employers, and also includes self-employed people, to help pay their employees who’ve been advised to self-isolate because of COVID and can’t work at home during that period. It’s paid at the same rates as the wage subsidy was previously—$600 per week per fulltime worker, and $359 per week for a part-time worker.
The Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for the result of a COVID-19 test. This is paid at $359 per eligible worker. Full details about these payments are available on MSD’s website.
Our care in community programme will support individuals and families who have to isolate, in addition to the usual support provided by MSD and other agencies.
A number of further measures to support businesses are available. These include:
- The Commissioner of Inland Revenue having the discretion to offer greater flexibility on tax payments for businesses to support cash flow for firms who may find themselves under pressure.
- The small business cash-flow loan scheme is still available, and we already have work under way to enhance this to make sure it can further support businesses.
- There’s also other business support packages available, such as those through the Regional Business Partner Network programme and the Events Transition Support scheme.
As we’ve done throughout COVID, we will continually monitor the situation and make changes to our supports as appropriate.
Thank you for those who have chosen to have their booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, to date more than $1 million Kiwis are already boosted, and the majority of vaccinated people will be eligible by the end of February.
Getting vaccinated now is a great way to help protect tamariki aged 5 to 11 before they go back to school. While children may have milder symptoms, some will still get very sick and end up in hospital if they get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated also helps to prevent them from passing it on to more vulnerable members of the whānau, like babies and elderly family members.
The child version of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine has a lower dose and smaller volume than the adult vaccine and is administered using a smaller needle. To be fully immunised against COVID-19 a child needs to get two doses of the vaccine, usually given at least 8 weeks apart.
Parents who have questions about the paediatric vaccine should seek further information from their health professional, or from Unite Against COVID-19. or talk to a trained advisor on the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26.
Please see below vaccination and testing sites located in Upper Harbour. Please share these on your social pages so people are aware of the locations.
Book an Event or Meeting with Vanushi Walters MP
Throughout the year you might have a special celebration or notable project planned for your community group, education centre or business. Whilst I am sometimes in Wellington sitting in Parliament and it’s not always possible to attend, I do consider every invitation. Please provide at least a months’ notice and give a brief explanation about the event/activity, audience number, location, contact person, phone, and what you would like Vanushi to do at the event (speaking or visiting). Send your invitation to Vanushi.WaltersMP@parliament.govt.nz. With the subject tile ‘VW Invitation’. Please note life at Red means no gatherings over 100 people.
In the coming months I will hold constituent clinics throughout the electorate at community centres. You are welcome to drop by to discuss issues or introduce yourself. These events will be notified on my Facebook page and in my monthly e-newsletters. The first constituent clinic for the year will be held online next Wednesday 26 January at 1pm. To book a 15 minute slot please use this link to email before Monday 24th January at 5pm.
Finally, I would like to extend my support and acknowledge the situation in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves. Communications links with Tonga were disrupted so New Zealanders may still have difficulties contacting their whānau in Tonga. All New Zealanders in Tonga should register their details on www.safetravel.govt.nz. New Zealand Government has made a $3 million available to support Tonga. If you or your community needs particular support at a local level please get in touch with my office.
I hope that you can enjoy the sunshine and have time to visit one of the many beautiful parks are on offer in Upper Harbour.
MP for Upper Harbour
Authorised by Vanushi Walters, Parliament Buildings, Wellington