Update - 17 February 2021

Local Government Response Unit main page

Here’s today’s update

Today, the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand, excluding Auckland, will shift to Alert Level One from midnight tonight. 

Masks will be mandatory on all forms of public transport nationwide during Alert Level One and above.

Auckland will shift to Alert Level Two from midnight tonight.

Papatoetoe High School will remain closed until Monday, 22 February 2021. The community around the school has been asked to stay home for the rest of this week. Every student and staff will need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school on Monday.

Aucklanders are encouraged to behave as if you carry your Alert Level with you. This means asking Aucklanders who travel outside the region to consider:

restricting to gatherings of no more than 100;

being considerate and ensuring physical distancing, wash hands and cough and sneeze into elbows;

keeping track of movements, using the NZ COVID Tracer app if possible; and

if you develop any cold or flu symptoms, staying where you are and seeking advice about getting tested.

Cabinet will review these alert level settings on Monday, 22 February 2021.

The Response Unit remains on hand to support you. You can send enquiries to your usual Taituarā, LGNZ, DIA contacts or this inbox: LGCGcovid19response@dia.govt.nz

Boundaries and checkpoint issues

Auckland’s travel restrictions will be lifted when it shifts to Alert Level Two, removing any boundary restrictions.

Although improvements have been made to the boundary settings since last time, as previously noted we are aware that communities continue to be impacted by boundary issues.

This is a particular problem for those attempting to cross the northern border. We are looking into this issue and will engage with those affected by this in due course.

QR codes for public toilets

We note the ongoing conversations among councils about the need for all public toilets to have a QR code displayed. We encourage all councils to ensure this occurs.

Further information about QR codes and how to get them is available here: https://covid19.govt.nz/business-work-and-money/business/get-your-qr-code-poster/

COVID-19 support for businesses and individuals

A new Resurgence Support Payment was introduced yesterday to help businesses directly affected when there’s a move to Alert Level 2 or above for a week or more.

Subject to eligibility and the specific situation for each firm, the payment could include a core per business rate of $1500 plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 FTEs ($21,500) and would be paid retrospectively to eligible firms.

Further information on this can be found at https://covid19.govt.nz/

The Epidemic Notice remains in force

On 23 December 2020, the Prime Minister renewed the Epidemic Notice, extending the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 (the Principal Notice) for a further three months.

As we have noted in previous updates to you, a number of amendments relevant to local government remain in force while the Principal Notice is in force.

Provisions relevant to local government that are tied to the Epidemic Notice

The following provisions will remain in place until the Principal Notice expires or is revoked:


the amendments to enable council meetings via audio or visual link to meet quorum requirements regardless of Council Standing Orders;

the provisions enabling council meetings to be open to the public through online access and to post meeting agendas, reports and minutes on council websites rather than physical locations;

new members of Council can continue to make their statutory declaration (oath of office) via audio or audio-visual link;

rates rebate applicants can complete the statutory declaration requirement via audio or visual link; and

the Order-in-Council mechanism for making further changes to by-election timing and provisions enabling local authority chief executives to delay the commencement of by-election timeframes.

Provisions relevant to local government not tied to the Epidemic Notice

The provisions providing extensions for bylaws that would otherwise be revoked by section 160A of the Local Government Act 2002 to continue in force until 30 June 2021 – remains in force until 1 July 2021.

Keeping communities safe

Following the Four Golden Rules:

  • Wash your hands
  • Scan QR codes
  • Turn on Bluetooth tracing on the NZ COVID Tracer app
  • Stay home if you’re feeling unwell and get advice about a COVID-19 test.

Getting tested

There is room and resource to test everyone – but we need your help to keep testing centres running quickly and easily.

If you were not at a location of interest at the stated times and you have no symptoms you do not need to be tested.

If you were at the locations of interest at the times stated, you need to get a test.

If you have symptoms but have not been to a location of interest stay home and call Healthline for advice.

The high demand at our Covid-19 testing sites may mean delays. Our frontliners ask for your patience and empathy, please be kind.

So, while you wait, make sure you have water, food and something for your tamariki to do.

Have your NHI number handy, it’ll speed the Covid-19 testing information and help out our frontline staff.

Our Kete Hauora is the easy way to find your NHI and have all your information on hand.

A special thanks to all the hardworking staff at our testing centres, general practices and other clinics who continue to swab for COVID-19. We also thank everyone who patiently waited for their COVID-19 tests yesterday and today.

Keeping track of where you have been

To stop any future spread of COVID-19, we all need to do the 3 Ws:

Where we have been

When we were there

Who we met

Using the NZ COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth turned on is one way to do this

The NZ COVID Tracer booklet is another way and they are FREE and available in multiple languages

For quick and easy online ordering of Tracer booklets go to: https://portal.bluestar.co.nz/WebForm/DPMC_PUB?form=Unite%20Against

Other useful resources

More information on transport and travel by Alert Level can be found on the Ministry of Transport website.

Our guidance on council services and operations across the COVID-19 Alert Levels on the COVID-19 Response Unit webpage.

Google drive hosting key creative assets for agencies to use and share across their channels as appropriate

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.