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Local HB leaders respond to State of Emergency declaration

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Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Deputy Chair Rick Barker, who chairs the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Committee, says the region’s leaders are committed to supporting the New Zealand Government's declaration and ensuring local communities get the help they need.

“COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation, and the government is making tough decisions to make sure we can contain the virus by going hard and going early,” says Mr Barker.

“This declaration sends a very strong message to our communities that we need to protect our most vulnerable and at-risk people. We all need to work together to protect each other collectively as a nation.”

"As a region we have strong communities and high levels of trust in each community. This strong sense of community and trust will give us a very strong foundation to carry us through these troubled times."

Mr Barker says declaring a state of emergency gives controllers and others the powers to deliver a swift and effective response.

“This declaration means that regionally, Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group will take a lead in coordinating the response across the many agencies involved – Hawke's Bay District Health Board, Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, ambulance, local councils and other partner agencies, utility operators and welfare organisations. All these agencies and our capacity need to be closely aligned with our community, led by the numerous community groups we have. Doubtless these community groups will help in every way they are able to.”

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board will continue to update the public in relation to any health issues and matters related to health.

Mr Barker emphasises that dealing with the pandemic is unchartered territory.

“This is new to all of us, but rest assured there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get us all through this. None of us have done this before so we will be learning as we go."

"We have a huge task in front of us, the welfare of our communities and businesses. We should not underestimate the size of this, or be daunted by it."

“Supporting our people, delivering services, helping businesses survive and recovering together are all things we are working on as mayors, councillors and chairs.”

The Joint Committee comprises the mayor of each council and the Regional Council chair, and sets the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s strategic direction.

For more information, visit https://covid19.govt.nz

25 March 2020

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