Australia: Wikinews interviews Reg Kidd, mayor of the City of Orange, about COVID-19 lockdown and local government

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Reg Kidd, mayor of the City of Orange.
Image: Orange City Council.

After a seven-day lockdown began in three rural councils in New South Wales, Australia, Wikinews reached out to Reg Kidd, the mayor of the City of Orange. Orange is one of the three areas that is now currently under lockdown after a case of COVID-19 was recorded at the Nestlé Purina PetCare food factory in Blayney.

Since then, Orange City Council, along with the other two council areas now in lockdown, has been declared a COVID-19 hotspot, which unlocks support from the Australian Government such as access to the COVID-19 disaster payment, assistance with contact tracing, and provision of protective personal equipment from the National Medical Stockpile.

Kidd has been an Orange City Councillor for 28 years, and became Orange's first popularly-elected mayor in 2017, where he ran as an independent candidate. He has hosted talkback radio with ABC Radio since 1989. Wikinews reached out to Kidd via email about the COVID-19 lockdown in Orange, as well as the upcoming local government elections in New South Wales and his motivations for entering local government.



Do you think the New South Wales government has taken the right approach in managing the COVID-19 pandemic?

 ((Reg Kidd )) Yes, lots of people love to play the "blame game", and unfortunately keyboard warriors cause more problems! Only 60 something deaths in NSW since Covid[-19.] Work this out as a percentage of NSW population. More people died on the roads, heart attacks, drugs etc, etc.

 ((WN )) How has the lockdown impacted council's activities and meetings?

 ((Reg Kidd )) No, we have been into live-streaming for the community for quite awhile, and we [have] Zoom meetings, and it has been very successful[.]

 ((WN )) What drove you to enter local politics?

 ((Reg Kidd )) I entered to [to] give back something to a community that had done so much for me. I also believe in being pro[-]active, and part of the solution, not part of the problem!

 ((WN )) Given the impact COVID-19 is currently having in New South Wales, do you think that any changes should be made to how the upcoming local government elections (scheduled for September 4) are held?

 ((Reg Kidd )) Yes[,] they should be put back to at least March next year (which they can do without full parliamentary debate etc). People because of shutdowns can not do electioneering "pressing the flesh" so to speak, also in our case there are more important issues at present.....Covid[-19] and vaccination.

 ((WN )) In the midst of a COVID-19 lockdown, is there any message you'd like to send to local residents?

 ((Reg Kidd )) together, do not play the blame game, listen to the proper "expert" advice, get tested, and please get not believe half the misinformation and media hype on AZ [AstraZeneca]. I and my family are done, and all the expert medical professionals in Orange are dismayed by how some sectors of the media are more interested in the politics, and not solutions[.]


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.