Tuesday, 24 March 2020 10:31

COVID-19: Support rural businesses – Rural Women NZ

Written by  Pam Tipa
Fiona Gower. Fiona Gower.

We need to make sure that our rural businesses are well supported, says Fiona Gower, Rural Women NZ national president.

“With the lack of tourists coming through we need to ensure the small businesses can survive because without them we don’t have a community,” she told Rural News last week.

“Once they are gone it is really hard to get them back.

She says digital communication will also play an important part in the coronavirus response. 

Rural Women has been looking at the best way to communicate with members about the situation, which includes getting the correct information out such including links to the Ministry of Health.

“There is a lot of hype out there and it’s making sure that everyone gets the correct information.

“Our members and rural communities are pretty resilient and innovative and have plenty of initiative. Because of where we live we can be pretty self-sufficient. 

“We can still go to work because we won’t be in the room with 50 other people.  We can carry on with the work we are doing which is really important.”

While huge events on the rural calendar such as the Central Districts and National Fieldays have been cancelled, New Zealand will be better off if we can prevent the spread or community introduction of the disease.

“We will have to look at more innovative ways of being a community because it is really important that we are supporting each other. 

“We have to look at ways possibly to do that rather than face to face in meeting situations or in social situations.” 

Gower says the rural sector has a number of “amazing’ groups and it needs to support their initiatives. 

She adds that rural communities also need to ensure that people are safe and not isolated.  

“We have to think how farm workers who are living on their own can cope, making sure they are well and all the rural communities are kept safe.

“This is a pretty tough time but the rural communities have been through some tough times.  

“This is just another to show how resilient we can be, how innovative we can be and how we can actually make the least worst, or the best, of the situation.”

She says technology will be really important.

“This will be a real issue for families that don’t have decent internet or computers if schools closed. We need to make sure those children are well looked after.” 

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