Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit

The Department of Internal Affairs has convened and is hosting a COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit. This dedicated working group comprises senior leadership from DIA’s Central Local Government Partnerships, Local Government Policy and Operations teams, from the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM), Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). 

The Response Unit has been established in recognition of the critical role that local government plays in ensuring the wellbeing and safety of local communities throughout New Zealand. It is providing  support to enable councils to continue to function effectively during this crisis. This includes ensuring they can make necessary decisions and meet their legislative and regulatory requirements, and carry out essential services operations, during the COVID-19 response period.

The Response Unit is also providing a vital link through to the All-of-Government  COVID-19 national response effort and a conduit for essential information back out to the local government sector. This includes linking in with other central government agencies that have local government-related responsibilities.

Read the summary of the Unit’s purpose and work (PDF, 208KB).

On this page:

Key workstreams

The Response Unit is working on a number of priority workstreams. These include but are not limited to the following workstreams.

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. 

Read more about council services and operations through alert levels 2, 3 and 4 - updated 14 May 2020 (PDF, 2MB) 

Frequently asked questions - Alert level 3 (PDF, 520KB)

Governance

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.

The workstream has produced two reports on possible financial Implications of COVID-19 for councils. The first, in mid-April 2020, was an early snapshot assessment to help councils consider COVID-19-related challenges. The second report, released early-May 2020, builds on the information in the first report. It provides more detailed information with reference to three potential COVID-19 Alert Level scenarios, assumptions and further information collected from councils about impacts in the fourth quarter of 2019/20 and rate-setting intentions for 2020/21. The reports are intended to assist with identifying key issues and areas to focus on; and help councils to craft support packages and recovery plans for themselves and their communities.

Local Government Sector COVID-19 Financial Implications Report 1 – Initial Analysis (PDF, 1MB)

Local Government Sector COVID-19 Financial Implications Report 2 – Alert Level Scenarios, Assumptions and Updated Analysis (PDF, 953KB)

Social Wellbeing

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

Communications

Each day we will be providing Local Government leaders with a 5.15pm update and advice on current and evolving issues. This update will include key messages from the All-of-Government daily updates and the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC). Daily updates are provided, below. They reflect advice and guidance provided during specific COVID-19 Alert Levels and can be expected to evolve with movement between Alert Levels.

We will also be collating and providing responses to queries directed to the Response Unit as time allows. These will be taken into account in the daily updates and as much as practicable in the guidance and information listed under the different workstreams. They will be posted as they are available on the proviso that we are in the midst of a complex and evolving situation and the content will also be updated to reflect the Covid-19 alert level of response.

For enquiries, please email Local Government COVID-19 Response Communication Group stating the relevant workstream in the subject line.

We will also provide relevant consolidated information such as guidance sheets and links to any pertinent legislative initiatives as well as webpages/websites.

Resources

COVID-19.govt.nz or 0800 779 997 is the All of Government COVID single source of up to date COVID-19 information and should be your first port of call for information.

You can also subscribe to the All of Government daily COVID-19 email updates or you can find the Government WhatsApp channel.

Other useful sources of information

Infectious disease control advice for workplaces on the Ministry of Health website

WorkSafe guidance about safe working during this pandemic

Information regarding workplace restrictions at different Alert levels on the business.govt website

Information on local civil defence groups on the Civil Defence website

Updates 

COVID-19 Local Government Response Update is published here each week:

August 2020

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Monday, 3 August 2020

July 2020

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Thursday, 2 July 2020

View all updates

Contact us

Email us at Local Government COVID-19 Response Communication Group

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit

45 Pipitea Street

PO Box 805

Wellington 6140

New Zealand.

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