Finance

The mayor says Palmerston North “batted too much” to help New Zealand with the epidemic.

The city’s mayor says that although some areas are struggling with the Quaid 19 lockdown, Palmerston North has made progress because of a lot of essential workers.

Countdown distribution in Palmerston North.

Countdown distribution in Palmerston North.
Image: RNZ

Parts of New Zealand rely heavily on one or two industries, but the city is home to many essential workers.

Mayor Grant Smith said the city has significantly resisted not only the recent lockdown but the entire epidemic.

He said that Palmerston North has made great efforts to respond to the country’s cowardly 19.

Smith said New Zealand Defense Force personnel were sent across the country from nearby Linton and Shakia bases to “provide a large part of this arrangement” for administrative isolation and quarantine facilities.

But it wasn’t just the defense force, it was the stockpile of essential industrial businesses in Palmerston North.

“Every staff member … everyone is working for the Fontera plants,” he said.

“Our major distribution centers, for both Countdown and Foodstuffs, are probably doing as much as they have in terms of food distribution.”

The staff at Countdown’s new distribution center on the outskirts of the city is divided into two teams, with about 100 essential workers together.

Scott Bennett, supply chain manager, said the initial surge in panic purchases at the start of each lockdown kept them busy, which put a lot of “stress and strain” on the supply chain network.

“And that’s quite unnecessary.”

Bennett said staff had managed to fix the system in 18 months of epidemics, so most days were now like no other.

He said that the work of the distribution center was absolutely necessary and people may not recognize it.

“Obviously they see what’s going on in the shops.

“But obviously people don’t understand what it takes to get goods from the supplier, through the supply chain and in-store.”

It was a similar experience for Aaron Fairburn, who manages a food stuff distribution center around the corner – shipping stock to New World and Pakin Seo supermarkets.

“I don’t know if people have this logical relationship.”

Fairburn said it was difficult for people to adjust to normal work arrangements, then return home on various alert level restrictions.

“It’s not just about the physical safety approach, it’s also about the mental health because some people really struggle with what brings lockdown out of their job.”

He said the company had “a lot of work to do around it.”

But both Bennett and Fairburn were proud of what their teams had accomplished through epidemics.

Fairburn said he acknowledged his role.

He thought his team’s strength was “huge” in tackling any challenge at different alert levels.

“I get weak every day.”

For the rest of the city, Smith was very proud.

“Palmy definitely batted above his weight once again.”

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