Update - Tuesday 28 April 2020

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Register of legislative issues

  • The Response Unit’s Governance workstream has prepared a register of legislative issues that we have identified or that have been raised with us as potentially needing addressing:
    Register of Legislative Issues (XLSX, 30KB)
  • We are working through this list of issues to determine where solutions are needed, including whether legislative modification is a necessary and appropriate response.
  • Where issues are the responsibility of other agencies, we are liaising with them to ensure these issues are being considered and to facilitate an effective response when needed.
  • If you have any enquiries around this table please send these to the Response Unit through to this COVID-19 inbox, LGCGcovid19response@dia.govt.nz, or your regular SOLGM/LGNZ/DIA contacts.
  • We will provide more information about responses to specific issues in future Response Unit updates.

Alert Level 3 -- Guidance on council services and CDEM groups

  • The Response Unit has previously provided guidance on council services and operations at Alert Level 3. This guidance was updated to include guidance developed by NEMA on CDEM arrangements at Alert Level 3.
  • We have posted this guidance on the COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit webpage: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Local-Government-COVID-19-Response
  • This guidance has been based on the decisions the Government has made for Alert Level 3. We hope it will help councils manage the transition to Alert Level 3 and support consistency in the delivery of local government services across New Zealand.
  • If you have any enquiries around council services/operations at Level 3 please send these enquiries to the Response Unit through to this COVID-19 inbox LGCGcovid19response@dia.govt.nz or your regular SOLGM/LGNZ/DIA contacts.

Additional resources for  Alert Level 3

  • Information on life under Alert levels 3, 2 and 1 is now available on COVID19.govt.nz
  • A wide range of new content has been added to the business.govt.nz website regarding workplace restrictions at different alert levels.
  • Worksafe has provided  "Transitioning from Alert Level 4" advice including the necessary health and safety requirements for businesses. Visit herefor more information.   
  • The Government has released the Golden Rules for businesses. Visit this link on the Covid19 website for more information.  
  • The Ministry of Health also has specific infectious disease control advice for workplaces here.
  • The guidance and FAQs for councils services (https://www.dia.govt.nz/Local-Government-COVID-19-Response) reference establishing ‘work groups’ for those staff that must work in pairs/groups. These groups are intended to ensure staff are exposed to a consistent set of their colleagues. The groups must be able to operate safely and are not exempt from the above requirements.

Mental health support as part of your back to work plans

  • While we are preparing to move back into Level 3 and with an eye to Level 2, we are aware that the pressures of the lockdown could yet make a bad situation even worse for many people.
    While it is important to focus on physical health and safety as we return to work, we need to make sure we include mental health support as a key part of our planning.
  • MATEs in construction have produced a range of plans, posters and presentations for empowering conversations about mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry – Tips for employers, Tips for workers - all via their website: www.mates.net.nz
  • This induction tool kit for the construction industry is an industry example that you may wish to draw on in your planning.
  • An important part of supporting your staff in this time is to ensure you engage them directly in developing and implementing your COVID-19 specific health and safety plans.

COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Having moved into Alert Level 3 at 11.59 last night, the immediate focus for the sector must be on managing the  return to this level (see guidance and links above).
  • However, we are aware that a subsequent move to Level 2, whenever that comes, is likely to have greater implications for the sector than the move between Alert Levels 4 and 3.
  • As we noted last week, we continue to work to provide guidance on council services at Alert Level 2 as soon as possible to support you in your planning for this next step, whenever it may be.
  • We anticipate being able to share guidance on councils services and operations at this level in time for the sector to make appropriate adjustments.

Influenza vaccinations –  A reminder

  • Last week the Ministry of Health advised that as of  22 April all essential workers outside of healthcare and emergency response are eligible for influenza vaccinations. This includes local government essential workers.
  • These vaccinations are not funded by central government.
  • Vaccinations can be organised through your normal workplace vaccination programmes, or through local vaccination providers, e.g. health-care centres or clinics.
  • As of yesterday, Monday 27 April, influenza vaccinations have been extended to the general public for anyone aged 3 or older.

Evolving role of the Response Unit

  • The Response Unit is planning how best to support local government as New Zealand begins to pivot towards recovery from COVID-19.
  • This means there will likely be changes in emphasis to the operations and work programme of the Response Unit.
  • However, we will also ensure we maintain the ability to respond quickly, should further outbreaks of COVID-19 occur as we move down through Alert Levels.
  • We will look to maintain our close and productive partnership across DIA, SOLGM, LGNZ and NEMA.
  • We will communicate further information on these changes as they are clarified.

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.

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.