Update Friday - 4 September

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Tēnā koutou katoa,

The Department of Internal Affairs, LGNZ, SOLGM, NEMA and other relevant government agencies have established a Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit to canvas and work through the immediate and longer-term challenges the disease poses for the local government sector and to support you in your responses to these evolving challenges

The contents of this email SHOULD BE DISTRIBUTED TO YOUR STAFF. Sensitive material will be sent separately and marked NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION.

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.

Here’s today’s update

Today the Prime Minister announced that the country will retain the current Alert Level settings until these are reviewed again on Monday 14 September, at which point, any change would take affect from 11.59pm from Wednesday 16 September 2020.

This means the country remains at Alert Level 2. 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: LGCGcovid19response@dia.govt.nz

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

We will also update our guidance on council services and operations across the COVID-19 Alert Levels on the COVID-19 Response Unit webpage.

SOLGM has issued a practice note on navigating the post-lockdown LTP which is available on their website: www.solgm.co.nz

NZ COVID Tracer booklet - hard copy contact tracing booklets for people that cannot, or choose not to, download and use the NZ COVID Tracer App can be ordered from: https://order.hpa.org.nz/collections/covid-19/products/covid-19-booklet

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

Connected.govt.nz 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.


*The Response Unit workstreams

The Response Unit is working at pace on a number of priority workstreams. To give you more visibility on the core workstreams of the Response Unit, we have provided the below overview.

The COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit webpage can be found here.

Essential Services

To support local government to continue to provide essential services, as appropriate, through the COVID-19 event. Within this there are five workstreams on the following critical services: drinking and waste water; solid waste; public transport; roading; and crematoriums and cemeteries.


To ensure local government can continue to make decisions and meet legislative requirements through the COVID-19 response and recovery. (We are also working across agencies to understand the implications of their legislation on local government, including the RMA and consenting issues.)

Finance and Recovery

Working across central and local government on the immediate Covid-19 effect on local government financial planning and viability; and working to ensure local government are well placed to support regional and local recovery.

Social Wellbeing

To effectively support local authorities as they promote the social wellbeing of their communities, and work with iwi/Māori in this space.

Project Management

Ensuring effective project co-ordination of the Response Unit; reporting; communications with central and local government; and co-ordination with the National Response.


Ngā mihi

Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit