COVID-19 Response Update Thursday - 9 September

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Frequency of Response Unit updates

The Response Unit continues to meet regularly and are on hand to support you as required as we move forward.

We are reducing the frequency of our updates to one update weekly, on Wednesdays and on an as required basis.

Cabinet is scheduled to meet on Monday, 14 September 2020. Should an announcement be made following this about any change or extension to the Alert Levels, we will send out an extra update with relevant messaging and guidance to support you.

Here’s today’s update

The country remains at Alert Level 2. Alert Level settings will be reviewed on Monday 14 September, at which point, any change would take effect from 11.59pm from Wednesday 16 September 2020.

At Alert Level 2 outside Auckland, gatherings such as church services and social events will continue to be limited to 100 people.

The Auckland region (Auckland Council area) is at Alert Level 2 with extra restrictions:

There have been some references to Auckland being at “Level 2.5” – this is to highlight that there are extra restrictions at Alert Level 2 in Auckland. It is not a new formal Alert Level.

At Alert Level 2 in Auckland, gatherings will continue to be limited to 10 people and funerals and tangihanga will be limited to 50 people and have to meet other conditions set by the Ministry of Health.

As well as wearing face coverings on public transport where they are mandatory, the government is encouraging Aucklanders to wear face coverings in public places where physical distancing is not possible.

The Government is encouraging Aucklanders to behave as if they carry their Alert Level with them. This means asking Aucklanders who travel outside their region to consider:

restricting themselves to groups of no more than 10 when they are outside of Auckland, even though gatherings of up to 100 are permitted;

being considerate and ensuring they practice physical distancing, wash hands and cough and sneeze into their elbow;

keeping track of their movements, using the NZ COVID Tracer app if possible; and

if they develop any cold or flu symptoms, staying where they are and seeking advice about getting tested.

The Response Unit remains on hand to support you. You can send enquiries to your usual SOLGM, LGNZ, DIA contacts or this inbox:

We are working to support you through the long-term planning process

We remain aware of concerns about added pressure placed on you as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 and capacity to undertake the long-term planning process.

We are working collaboratively on a package of support measures to enable and assist you through this process, including consultation with the Office of the Auditor-General about providing guidance.

SOLGM is also developing further practice notes that are expected to be finalised over the coming days and sent out to you next week. SOLGM’s previously issued practice note on navigating the post-lockdown LTP is available on their website:

COVID-19 impact analysis tool

As discussed in our update email from Wednesday, 2 September, DIA has been working with Deloitte to develop a tool to support councils in understanding/assessing the COVID-19 economic impact and provide various scenario assessments. We are clear that this tool needs to be made available to all councils as soon as possible for it to be of use for LTP drafting.

Today we sent out an email giving an overview of the COVID-19 impact analysis tool and inviting you to Zoom workshops starting next week. We encourage you to extend the invite to a range of staff who might use the tool so that its benefits are fully realised.

The purpose of these workshops is to outline how to utilise the tool for LTP drafting. The tool has three key components:

Economics forecast: drawing on national and regional information made available from the Deloitte team and publicly available data via various government agencies;

Visualisation dashboard: data outputs provided at a regional level (and local level where the data enables); and

Scenario modelling: ability to input certain scenarios and test policy responses to those scenarios.

Zui on Friday with Ministry of Health and the Local Government Response Unit

Yesterday we sent out calendar invites to a Zui scheduled for Friday, 11 September. The purpose of the Zui is to give a brief update on COVID-19.

 Professor Ian Town, Chief Science Advisor Ministry of Health, will outline the current global and New Zealand response activity. This will be followed by an overview from Michael Lovett, Karen Thomas, and Sarah Stuart-Black on the arrangements for regional planning to respond to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Elimination strategy and Resurgence planning

The Government remains committed to an elimination strategy for Covid-19 as outlined in the “Stamp it Out” framework. This means a sustained approach of keeping it out, finding it, and stamping it out.

The core of the response will be personal hygiene, staying home when sick, testing, contact tracing, and isolation. You may find posters to support these messages. Where this is insufficient, the Government will seek to control Covid-19 with the least intrusive measures, including tailored local responses.

This potential for future local escalations in Alert Levels means that it is important all parts of New Zealand are well prepared to respond to a resurgence of COVID-19. Planning and preparation will be key to enabling social and economic recovery to continue and adapt during any future resurgence.

We are aware of concern that the resurgence planning requirements may place added pressure on councils. We are working to better understand how we can support you through this process.

You will find detail of all the COVID-19 Alert Levels on the COVID-19 website.

Other useful Resources

Google drive hosting key creative assets for agencies to use and share across their channels as appropriate

Ministry of Transport’s guidance for Transport and Travel by Alert Level

MfE’s guidance for councils operating virtual hearings under the RMA

MfE’s face mask disposal messages

MfE’s Wet wipes messages

You may sign up to the daily All of Government email newsletter

You may find posters to support key messages

Foreign nationals in need of assistance can check their eligibility and apply online has been launched by MDS to assist workers, employers and job seekers navigate all of the available COVID recovery programmes and assistance. The website is supported by a free phone line, 0800 264 737 and MSD have 35 physical Connected locations around the country.