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Letter to the Community: Stronger Together


23 April 2020


I want to start this letter by saying thank you, to everyone in Central Hawke’s Bay that has contributed to the success of the Alert Level Four lock down. No doubt, the last month has been hard in many ways but as a result of the commitment of each and everyone of you, these sacrifices have not been in vain. On Monday, our Prime Minister announced that after robust discussion and analysis, the Government deems it safe for us to move down to Alert Level Three of the four level alert system. For many – this news will be very welcome. The idea is that it is a step to get some of our economy back into the swing of things, but it’s not a relaxation of our socialising ways! Staying home, bubbles, hand washing and social distancing are still the catchcry but thankfully many of our normal goods and services will resume – not exactly how we remember it, but resumed nonetheless!  Success in Level 3 is going to take some trust and commitment so that we don’t waste what we’ve already sacrificed.

I wanted to raise just how important it is that we continue to work together as we move through the next few weeks, months and beyond. Never before has ‘Together We Thrive’ been more appropriate  and our fantastic people, hardworking businesses, delicious produce and excellent retail, service and hospitality all rely on us working as a team. Now, as we work to protect our people and our economy, I’m asking you to make the most of it! By shopping local and spending local, you’re supporting local Central Hawke’s Bay. This will be important to restart our precious local businesses and get things moving again.

To our business owners, on the other side of struggle comes real opportunity. I know that for many of you, the restrictions of Level Three will mean that you need to alter your business and service model to be able to operate safely and legally. But please, don’t be disheartened by this!

If you need support in forecasting, planning and preparing for the next stage, please get in touch so Council Officers so they can point you in the right direction. There are many local and regional business support programmes that may be able to help.

Council will continue to refine budgets and recovery plans – a complex and challenging task as we try to find the right ways to reduce short-term impact but maximise long-term benefit! Your councillors and I will continue to work from home during Level 3 and our online Zoom meetings will continue so you can join in to hear our discussions, debates and decisions. Today is a Finance and Infrastructure Committee chaired by Councillor Brent Muggeridge. Join us on Facebook from 9am or you can go back and watch it at another time too.

Lastly from me, this Saturday 25 April is ANZAC Day and although we’ll spend it a little differently this year, we will all still acknowledge those who served our country through wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. As some of you know, ANZAC Day is particularly special to me as I offer my own service by playing Last Post and Reveille – often multiple times during the day. I will miss that this year – but perhaps my neighbours will hear it…..  I’ll be coming together with others around the country to ‘stand at dawn’ with my family. To find out more, visit  Also keep your eye on my Facebook page, as I’ll be showing our respects in a special Central Hawke’s Bay way.

Together we thrive. E ora ngātahi ana.

Mayor Alex Walker


Mayor Alex Walker.


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