Update - 3 June 2020

Local Government Response Unit main page


Frequency of Response Unit updates

  • As we pivot towards recovery efforts, we have reduced the frequency of our updates to one update weekly, on Wednesdays. We will continue with this frequency until 24 June 2020.
  • From July onwards we will look to retain these updates on a monthly basis. 
  • For urgent or “breaking news” we may deliver one-off bulletins on other occasions.

Recovery Reference Group

  • The Recovery Reference Group meeting for 29 May was postponed.
  • Previously the Ministry of Transport provided a high-level overview of their COVID-19 Recovery Programme for discussion with the Reference Group: Transport COVID Recovery Programme (PDF, 176KB)
  • This week the Recovery Reference Group will invite a representative from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Tourism team to attend to discuss their mahi. Mike Theelen will also present on the Queenstown Lakes District’s Response and Recovery.
  • This Group will continue to meet weekly on Fridays for the next month before reassessing frequency of meetings.
  • We will provide a brief overview of the meeting and key progress in the following week’s update email.

Alert Level 1

  • Today the Prime Minister announced the framework for Alert Level 1. The Government will next consider the move to Alert Level 1 on 8 June. 
  • It is important to remember we remain at Alert Level 2 until notified of any change from Central Government.
  • Under this framework Alert Level 1 will be, in essence, a return to normal operations with border measures remaining in place.
  • This will mean that when we move to Alert Level 1 contact tracing, physical distancing (including on public transport) and gathering requirements will be lifted.
  • While restrictions/requirements on businesses will be lifted at Alert Level 1, we do encourage councils to continue to promote best practice within their communities for hand hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a diary of activities/contacts. We will share any All of Government collateral to this effect when we have access to it.
  • The Government will also work with providers of large scale events to produce a voluntary industry code of practice for those organising such events.
  • The Golden rules for Alert Level 1 are as follows:
  • Given the permissive nature of Alert Level 1, we do not consider it necessary to issue local government sector specific guidance for Alert Level 1 as we have with the other Alert Levels. However, if you have any questions please send these to your usual SOLGM, LGNZ, DIA contacts, or the Response Unit inbox: LGCGcovid19response@dia.govt.nz

1. If you're sick, stay home. Don't go to work, school or socialise.
2. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, call your doctor or healthline. Get tested.
3. Wash your hands. 
4. Sneeze or cough into your elbow and regularly clean shared surfaces.
5. You must self-isolate if you're told by officials to do so. 
6. Stay healthy, work with your GP if you have underlying health issues.
7. Keep track of where you've been.
8. Businesses help people track movements by displaying the QR code. 
9. Stay vigilant.
10. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself. 

Rates rebates applications deadline

  • Some councils have enquired whether the deadline for rates rebates applications will be extended beyond the end of this rating year to mitigate the restrictions of COVID-19. These restrictions have meant applicants cannot meet face-to-face with an authorised person to complete the required statutory declaration as part of the application process.
  • The Immediate Modification Order (IMO) made to the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 has allowed rates rebate applicants to complete the statutory declaration requirement remotely. This IMO has been in force since 17 April 2020.
  • Some councils have told us that extending the application deadline would cause problems for their systems.
  • There is no plan to extend the deadline. We do not consider extending the deadline would achieve anything further, as the IMO will have been in place for over two months by the end of the rating year. Extending the deadline would also create complexity for those councils whose systems are incompatible with such a change.
  • This means rates rebate applications need to be received by councils before the end of this rating year to be considered for a rebate for the current rating year.
  • We note that applications only need to be received by councils before the end of the rating year. Forms can be incomplete and further information requested from the applicant where necessary after 30 June 2020 and the application will still be valid for the current rating year.
  • The IMO mentioned above does not prevent statutory declarations from being taken in person, provided this can be done safely and complies with COVID-19 guidance. The IMO allows for statutory declarations to also be made over the phone or via audiovisual link.
  • The IMO will remain in force until the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 expires or is revoked. This Epidemic Notice is currently due to expire on 25 June 2020, however the Government has the option to revoke the notice early or extend the notice past this date.
  • The notice gives effect to a wide range of COVID-19 related measures and the decision on whether to extend or revoke it will need to consider all these matters.

Agile Procurement Report

  • The Response Unit’s essential services team commissioned KPMG to look at agile procurement in the water sector: Agile Procurement in the New Zealand Water Sector (PDF, 432KB)
  • When New Zealand was in lockdown the Response Unit focussed on how Councils and water entities could re-start paused projects safely as the country moved into Level 3.
  • Now that we are in Level 2 and anticipating a move to Level 1, attention has shifted to how Councils can get back to full work programmes.
  • KPMG examined planned maintenance and renewal programmes in particular. This is a major area of spend that can be unlocked swiftly and can contribute significantly to local economic recovery.
  • A webinar will be set up next week by SOLGM for Council CEOs and CFOs featuring the report authors and an expert panel.

Useful resources for Alert Level 2

  • Our guidance on council services and operations at Alert Level 2 can be found on the COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit webpage here.
  • All of Government Information on life under Alert levels 3, 2 and 1 is available on COVID19.govt.nz