Helen White: Labour List MP, Auckland Central

Kia ora Ponsonby, I hope you are all safe and well in your bubbles (if we are still in them at the time of publication!).

I also hope that anyone who has the opportunity is getting vaccinated. Personally, I am counting down the days until my first appointment.

The importance and assurance of vaccination was certainly bought home to me this week. It turns out I have been to a “place of interest” – a wonderful night at the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of The Firebird. I attended this incredible production with my daughter and hundreds of other people. The notification that my daughter and I might have been exposed was unnerving.

The next weekend – without knowing about the COVID threat at the Aotea Centre – I started to feel sick. Like many of us I wasn’t immediately sure whether to get a test. Was I wasting their time? But I joined the queue of cars and got it done.

I recall thinking “thank goodness I went for that test!” While I still don’t have the results back on my first test as I write this and will now have to have a second and stay home as directed I have learned a big personal lesson: to adapt.

Aucklanders have been leaders in soldiering on through lockdowns, and we are continuing that example now. I recognise however that each time this happens it’s different for each of us. For some people, they will just feel over it and some will have businesses under particular pressure. Of course, the wage subsidy is available again and MSD is geared up to support you.

But I appreciate that whatever your circumstances, the lockdown experience will cause stress and anxiety. Remember, if you need help or advice at all please do reach out. My team and I are available at helen.white@parliament.govt.nz.

But most importantly I think it’s a clear reminder of the importance of vaccination.

I know that some people are reticent, and perhaps have seen how successful New Zealand has been in managing Covid-19 and feel more confident than we should. I grew up myself in a somewhat stoic family. We just soldiered on, didn’t believe in pain killers and didn’t get vaccinated for some things we should have. But things are very different now.

A few months ago when the vaccinations became available to our elderly, I had to work hard to persuade an older relative to get a vaccination. I am very relieved they agreed, because I couldn’t stop worrying about them. I know many of you will have had these hard conversations.

Vaccinating our team of five million is our community’s way to adapt. Our individual decisions to vaccinate ourselves also protects all Kiwis – what could be more important? (HELEN WHITE)

E: helen.white@parliament.govt.nz

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