Update - Wednesday 15 July 2020

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Next Steps in COVID-19 Response

Today the Prime Minister set out the Government’s plan for responding to new cases of community transmission, should these arise.

This framework acknowledges that while it has been many weeks since our last case of community transmission, there is still a global pandemic raging outside our shores and we need to remain vigilant and prepared.

In the event of community transmission, the Government has indicated it would move immediately to implement the “Stamp it Out” approach again. However, the alert level system and associated framework would this time be applied at a localised or regional level in the first instance.

The Prime Minister has laid out a number of possible scenarios and the Government response to each of these. You can read the full release on the Beehive website.

Attached you will find a set of key messages and an A3 on this announcement that you may use to support you in conversations with your communities.

The key messages – new cases of COVID in the community (PDF, 49KB)

Stamp it out: Our plan to respond to new COVID-19 cases in the community (PDF, 524KB)

The COVID-19 webpage will be updated with supporting material over the coming days

Recovery Reference Group

The Recovery Reference Group’s met on 3 July. This meeting included a brief discussion with Deloitte and a reflection on the Reference Group’s objectives over the coming weeks.

The Group also briefly discussed the Caring for Communities workstream – which is discussed in a separate item below.

A brief overview of the key points from this meeting are provided below.

Role of the Reference Group

The Reference Group took this meeting to reflect on what they had achieved over the last few months and how to ensure value for local government is maximised through the future Reference Group meetings.

The Reference Group noted there was a concern that “recovery” would lose its prominence and slip back into BAU/the new normal for New Zealanders and central government agencies. This was noted to have happened following the Canterbury Earthquakes.

The Reference Group see this as a perceived risk for local government as the effects of COVID-19 are expected to continue to impacting councils for a long time. The Reference Group, along with the work of DIA, SOLGM and LGNZ, provide an opportunity to maintain this lens across central government.

The Reference Group will continue to invite government agencies to attend meetings to present on their Recovery work programmes to maintain a high-level overview of this work across Government.

The Reference Group will also continue to invite councils to present to the group to share their COVID-19 response and recovery experiences. The Reference Group see this information sharing as a valuable part of the meetings.

The Reference Group are investigating ways beyond these update emails to facilitate this information sharing more broadly across councils.

Tomorrow’s LGNZ Rural and Provincial sector hui will provide one such opportunity as the hui has a focus on recovery. The Reference Group will continue to look to other existing and potentially new fora to enable these discussions.

The Reference Group reflected on the various sources of Crown funding available to local government for recovery projects. There was an interest in seeing how the success of this funding would be monitored and reported in a cohesive way. The Reference Group are looking to invite a member of the All-of Government team to come to discuss this at a future meeting.

Deloitte modelling tool

Deloitte also joined the Reference Group briefly to discuss a tool they are preparing for DIA to be made available to councils to undertake some COVID-19 scenario planning.

This tool is currently under development working with some sample councils to inform the modelling. The Reference Group noted that it is important the tool is delivered in a timely manner if it were to be useful for long term planning discussions.

Next meeting

The Ministry for the Environment are scheduled to attend the next Reference Group meeting to discuss the Jobs for Nature funding and their work to support this.
Gisborne District Council will also present on their COVID-19 experience and Recovery planning.

Caring for communities

The key focus of the Caring for Communities (C4C) workstream is to support those regional leadership structures that may require help connecting with each other and parts of central government.

As part of this workstream, the C4C team and DIA have begun a series of ‘cup of tea’ conversations across New Zealand to better understand the unique needs and insights from regions.

Common themes emerging through the discussions to date have identified:

  • There is a strong focus on social outcomes (health, wellbeing, food security, homelessness and housing); creating sustainable economic development (infrastructure, long term employment, training and education) alongside environmental and cultural outcomes.
  • To support the development of regional priorities by regional leaders, there is a need for access to good information for their rohe and an understanding of the different projects/programme funding available to support their priorities.
  • Many have identified a need for agencies to gather and work across their priorities rather than the many applications they would need to work across to achieve the same goal.
  • While the impact of COVID-19 has impacted to varying degrees across districts, many expressed the view that the full impact may not be seen until the wage subsidies end in September.

These informal conversations will continue over the rest of July across the regions. Following this the C4C team will need to consolidate the lessons from these discussions and round back with you.

Three Waters Workshops commencing 20 July 2020

Over the next two weeks the joint Central and Local Government Steering Committee will be undertaking workshops across the country to support you in considering whether to opt-in to the Three Waters Reform Programme.

These workshops follow an announcement of a $761 million funding package from central government designed to support economic recovery post COVID-19 and address persistent systemic issues facing three waters.

The Steering Committee comprises Local Government New Zealand, the Society of Local Government Managers, elected members, chief executives, the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Treasury.

This workshop invitation has been sent to Mayors, Regional Council Chairs and Council Chief Executives. The workshops are open to elected members, senior officers and iwi partners for councils to invite as you see appropriate.

You can RSVP and find details on the workshop locations on the Three Waters Reform website

Foreign Nationals Support Programme: messages and milestones

The Assistance to Foreign Nationals Impacted by COVID-19 Programme (also called Visitor Care Manaaki Manuhiri by New Zealand Red Cross) formally began on 1 July.

The Programme is well established with operational processes being refined and embedded.

The most recent dashboard (PDF, 728KB) shows data and commentary up to midnight Wednesday 8 July. Future dashboards will be created for the duration of the Programme.

Read Q&As about the Programme (PDF, 233KB).

Information for members of the public can be found on the New Zealand Red Cross website.

Foreign nationals can apply online or by phoning New Zealand Red Cross on 0800 RED CROSS (0800 733 27677 - option 1).

Milestones and updates

As of midnight on Monday 13 July 2020, 1012 people have applied for in-kind assistance.

A particular focus this week has been establishing support for foreign nationals and their employers who are part of the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme. The Programme is working with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to ensure consistency and alignment of key messages and support.

The Programme team have commenced a closer look at the international student cohort with the other agencies already involved in supporting this group and preparation for the second month of support.

Further discussion is underway on what additional expectations will be placed on the applicants in regard to their level of engagement with consulates and response to repatriation opportunities.

If you have any questions or need more information, do not hesitate to contact the DIA Programme Team at foreignnationalssupport@dia.govt.nz. This inbox will be monitored regularly.