Update - 22 May 2020

Local Government Response Unit main page

Frequency of Response Unit updates

  • From next week the Response Unit, which is pivoting towards recovery efforts, will reduce to one update weekly, on Wednesdays, until further notice.
  • For urgent or “breaking news” we may deliver one-off bulletins on other occasions.

Recovery Reference Group

  • The weekly Recovery Reference Group meeting was held today. A brief overview of the meeting is below for your information.
  • Key areas the Group see opportunities to add value to are:
  • On the back of Wednesday’s update about changes to the special consultative procedure process, the Group has asked for further guidance to be produced on using this modified process. SOLGM will work with DIA to produce this for councils.
  • Today, representatives from the Ministry of Transport also attended to discuss their Recovery programme and the GPS (given submissions closed last week).
  • Next week, the Group will invite a representative from the Ministry for the Environment to attend to discuss their consent streamlining work. 
  • Going forward, 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 update email.
    • to gain two-way insight into central government agencies’ Recovery work;
    • to share information and lessons to draw on across councils; and
    • to help identify challenges councils are facing and inefficiencies across the system in the Recovery efforts.

COVID Tracer mobile app to support contact tracing

  • The attached letter has been sent from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Health to all council chief executives: Correspondence re: contact tracing app (PDF, 608KB)
  • As you are aware, a key part of the ongoing response to COVID-19 is fast and effective contact tracing.
  • The attached letter provides guidance for how you may generate QR code posters that work with the NZ Contact Tracer app.
  • If you or your team have questions about the Confirming Authority process, you can email these to support@nzbn.govt.nz 

Do not flush! Wet wipes campaign follow-up

  • During April, the Ministry for the Environment, assisted by LGNZ, Water NZ and other agencies, mounted and ran a campaign in response to waste treatment blockages caused by flushing wet wipes, and to counter the heightened threat this posed to essential services during COVID-19 lockdown. Particulars include:
    • The campaign ran from 9-30 April and was made up of a range of social media and paid online advertisements, run across Stuff, NZ Herald, Google, WeChat in In-Apps.
    • Paid online advertisements reached over 4,000,000 people 3.33 times. The advertisements were shown 14,815,728 times.
    • Advertising placement was targeted towards geographic locations where LGNZ members and Water NZ identified there was an increased problem.
    • Social media posts reached 1.4 million people and the posts were shown 4.9 million times.
  • Post-campaign survey results (PDF, 125KB) indicate:
    • 83% of those surveyed knew they should not be flushed, and 7% said they knew they should not be flushed but had only recently discovered this.
    • A further 9% were not aware and 1% were not sure.
    • Approximately 50% of respondents identified that they had purchased wet wipes since the lockdown. That 50% was made up of 29% that always do, 8% that purchased many more than usual, and 13% who had purchased some even though they would not normally buy them.
  • The Ministry for the Environment reports that for some councils (South Taranaki, Gisborne) the numbers of blockages is better than before COVID-19, while others (Watercare-Auckland, New Plymouth District Council) reported they are still experiencing increased blockages.
  • Many councils approached were appreciative of the campaign with others requesting ongoing campaign support or a more far-reaching ‘‘don’t flush’’ campaign.
  • Campaign content remains available for councils and wastewater organisations to use and is available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7qqk9y3b2nuesrz/AAAuvT8mO3q8aKAJRKEE-M7aa?dl=0
  • Tauranga City Council’s campaign is an example of a campaign that has proven to have been effective and could be adopted in other areas as an ongoing campaign, subject to cost. See: https://www.tauranga.govt.nz/council/water-services/wastewater/save-our-pipes-from-wipes

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
  • The COVId-19 website has a number of posters you may wish to use to promote good physical distancing, hygiene and staying safe under Alert Level 2. These can be found here:
    • A wide range of content has been added to the business.govt.nz website regarding workplace restrictions at different alert levels.
    • https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid/  with endorsed industry guidance available here:


*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: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Local-Government-COVID-19-Response

Essential Services


  • 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

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.