A call to action to the Government from business and community groups

After COVID-19 we can build back better than we were before. Let’s make our recovery truly transformative, now. A call to action to the Government from businesses and community groups

Read more about the letter below!

COVID-19 showed that New Zealanders care for one another. We have made sacrifices to protect people’s health, based on science and by taking bold action. We adapted and innovated so we could stay connected, keep working, and support one another. We were reminded of how much we depend on one another, particularly our lowest wage workers who provided essential services.

As we emerge from the challenges posed by COVID-19, we have a chance to build positively on the common purpose we found together. As our representatives in Government, we ask that you now make smart policy and investment decisions that will lay the foundation for a successful, equitable and regenerative future and a more productive and sustainable economy.

Leading into this emergency, we already faced significant challenges. Carbon emissions were not coming down, productivity was not improving, we faced a rising tide of mental distress and addiction, many had insufficient financial resources and resilience to live with dignity, and the aspirations of Māori were still not on an equal footing. As a Government you had acknowledged these issues and started to make progress by adopting Treasury’s Living Standards Framework, developing a Wellbeing Budget and in last week’s Rainy Day budget.

We understand that in this time of uncertainty and fear, there is an urgent desire to see Aotearoa New Zealand thrive again, and quickly. But this is not the time to lose sight of the challenges we still face. Instead we have an opportunity to stage a recovery that prioritises our most excluded and disadvantaged, regenerates nature, and gives everyone the opportunity to actively participate in a successful society. You can make choices now that accelerate the transition to a healthy, resilient, inclusive, Te Tiriti-based, nature-rich, low carbon way of life that delivers a more productive, sustainable economy. We fear that if you do not, there will be a default to quick-fix decisions that inadvertently lock in the mistakes of the past, likely entrenching disadvantage and degrading nature. It would be an opportunity lost, and a disservice to our country and its people.

As we acted collectively to protect one another over the last seven weeks, we can act collectively again to enhance the future for our young people. Our children and grandchildren will live their adult lives with the choices you make today.

We know the solutions: invest in community resilience and wellbeing; invest in sustainable food systems and regenerative agriculture; shift to a circular, low carbon economy; invest in nature through conservation and biodiversity protection. Do this in partnership with iwi and hapu, and communities. These solutions will underpin a healthy society, nature that can thrive and a productive, resilient economy into the future, that creates wellbeing for all.

We call on you, our representatives, to have the courage, wisdom and foresight to know that business as usual will not deliver the future we want for each other or for the country we love. Seize the opportunity now to make our recovery plans truly transformative and take New Zealanders with you once again. As business and civil society representatives we will stand by you as you make these decisions. We are ready to play our part in building this future we can be proud of.