Jacinda’s Nanny State wants us to have a happy Christmas and a safe one.
Ministers devoted to improving our wellbeing have issued advice and warnings on how to avoid food poisoning, how to keep skin cancer at bay and – you can never be too careful, people – how to respond to a tsunami warning.
We are also being equipped to recognise the conditions that increase fire risk.
And there’s advice on the summer programme of resealing and repair work on state highways, to help steer motorists through the holiday driving season.
Transport Minister Michael Wood brought infrastructure investment and job creation into considerations on that one: more than 2,000 people will be working on highways across the country this summer, resealing and repairing around 1,900 lane kilometres of state highway (the equivalent of a two-lane road from Picton to Bluff or a single lane on SH1 from Bluff to Kaitaia).
The wellbeing of businesses has not been forgotten. The Government is working with New Zealand businesses, industry representatives and other stakeholders to ensure they are prepared for all Brexit eventualities from 1 January.
And it is enabling many migrant workers currently in New Zealand to stay and work here for longer, following adjustments to visa settings. This measure is aimed more at addressing the problem of labour shortages, we suspect, than the wellbeing of migrants.
Kiri Allen, as Minister for Emergency Management, is reminding all New Zealanders to be “tsunami ready” over the holiday break.
“New Zealand’s entire coastline is at risk of tsunami. That means most of us live near, or visit places that are at risk,” Kiri Allan said.
“When you’re hitting the beach, it’s important that you’re tsunami ready as well as sun smart.
“Remember the “Long or Strong, Get Gone” mantra, and make sure you check the local evacuation zones so if you have to evacuate, you know where to go.”
Oh, and don’t forget to factor COVID-19 into your emergency planning.
“Make sure you pack face coverings in your grab bag and holiday luggage. Remember that evacuations will always override any ‘stay at home’ restrictions, but if you need to evacuate, try to keep two metres distance from others.”
It looks like most of us have a fair chance of responding appropriately to a tsunami. This year’s Annual Disaster Preparedness survey, commissioned by the National Emergency Management Agency, found 85 per cent of New Zealanders are aware they need to evacuate if they are near the coast and a long or strong earthquake happens.
The agency’s Long or Strong Get Gone campaign, being rolled out this summer, reinforces that message and reminds Kiwis of the right actions to take.
Find out more about being tsunami ready at www.getready.govt.nz
Food Safety Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall delivered the warning against hogging into toxic tucker.
As the festive season kicks off and we welcome the rise in summer temperatures, the risk of food poisoning at home increases.
“Food poisoning is a significant issue in New Zealand with an estimated 100,000 people getting sick from unsafe food handling practices at home,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.
The Ministry for Primary Industries accordingly is launching an awareness campaign, reminding consumers to follow the 3 C’s: clean, cook and chill, when handling, cooking and storing raw meats such as poultry, to avoid getting sick and “paying the price”.
Verrall was armed with survey findings, too.
“A recent study on consumer food safety behaviour and knowledge revealed most New Zealanders don’t believe food poisoning can be deadly or create long-term, health consequences—and they do believe the food they cook at home is safer than the local takeaway or café.”
Food poisoning for many Kiwis amounts to no more than a few days of upset stomach, cramps, bloating and/or vomiting – a few days in bed away from work or school, and not much else.
But some people experience more severe forms of foodborne illnesses as a result of picking up harmful bacteria and viruses like Campylobacter, Norovirus, Salmonella, Listeria, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Bacillus cereus.
Verrall’s food safety tips for Kiwis this summer are:
If in doubt, chuck it out.
Wash your hands, not your chicken.
Cook meat through, don’t poison the crew.
Know the rules, wash your kitchen tools.
In his statement about talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union on their future relationship, O’Connor said from 1 January 2021, when the transition period is scheduled to end, the UK will leave the EU Customs Union and Single Market and will no longer be bound by EU rules.
This (as we all should know by now) has implications for New Zealand.
Regardless of whether a deal is concluded, changes at the border between the UK and EU from 1 January will affect New Zealand businesses who trade between the UK and the EU and, in some cases, those who trade directly with the UK.
Delays at the border are a possibility.
New Zealanders travelling between the UK and EU may be affected by delays.
O’Connor said the issue of New Zealand’s quota access for some products into the EU and the UK after the UK leaves the EU’s Customs Union is of critical and urgent importance to our interests.
“We are continuing to work hard, at all levels including the Prime Minister, Ministers and senior officials, to secure an acceptable resolution of this issue that is consistent with the assurances the UK and the EU have given us that New Zealand will not be left worse off as a result of Brexit,” Damien O’Connor said.
Separate from the issue of preservation of New Zealand’s existing quota access, New Zealand continues to make progress in free trade negotiations with the European Union, and the United Kingdom, both of which are priorities for the Government. Latest information on the negotiations can be found at EU-NZ FTA and UK-NZ FTA.
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