Update - Tuesday 7 April 2020

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Administration of by-elections during COVID-19 restrictions

The administration of local government by-elections is a key function of local government and is considered an “essential service”.

As an essential service, electoral officers, election service providers, local authorities, and contractors and suppliers providing services for local elections must:

  • minimise, or eliminate if possible, physical interactions among staff and with and between customers;
  • ensure appropriate health, hygiene and safety measures are in place;
  • restrict activity to only what is essential during the Alert Level 4 period; and
  • act in accordance with the guidance on the COVID-19 Government website.

It is important that electoral officers and election service providers liaise directly with their suppliers and contractors and apply this guidance to their circumstances.

Provision may be made for candidates (and/or their nominators) and voters to drop off nomination documents or voting papers to council offices if this can be done in accordance with the guidance.

No in-person campaigning activities should occur during the Alert Level 4 period and the standard lockdown rules should be observed.

The Governance team will continue to work with LGNZ, SOLGM and Electoral Officers on matters that arise regarding the administration of by-elections during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Questionnaire on Fourth Quarter Impacts and End-of-Year Financial Position

Today the Finance Workstream distributed a questionnaire through the SOLGM Finance listserv seeking answers to questions around your likely end-of-year position considering fourth quarter impacts.

We ask you to work with your staff to ensure you respond to these questions as best you can in the time available.

The responses to this questionnaire will further assist us with our assessment of the financial impacts of COVID-19 on the local government sector.

We are aiming to share with councils and central government agencies a summary report of key findings from our assessment towards the end of the day on Tuesday next week (14 April).

If you have not already provided us with copies of any analysis you are undertaking of the overall effect on your council’s finances, we’d still be very pleased to receive that information.

Ministry for the Environment advice

The Ministry for the Environment has provided guidance in the attached document, including:

  • Advice on prosecutions and compliance;
  • Site visits for consenting processes;
  • Updated advice on RMA obligations sent out on 6/4. 

Read further about the updates (PDF, 208kb).

Wet wipes campaign

The Ministry for the Environment are taking the lead on and working up a campaign on wet wipes.

The draft content has been passed by the Response Unit’s wastewater leads and has met general approval.

The campaign is expected to launch over Easter. 

The Government wage subsidy

The issue of council and council entity eligibility (individual or collective) for the Government COVID-19 wage subsidy has been raised with the Response Unit.

We are looking into this as a matter of urgency and expect to be able to provide advice on this issue by the end of Thursday this week. 

Social Wellbeing -- compassion in the community  

As COVID-19 arrives in some of our smaller communities local government leaders and elected members are well-placed to set a positive tone to local reactions.

As with colds or flu, people who test positive to COVID-19 will have been infected through no fault of their own.

Anti-social elements who might wish to stigmatise or re-victimise those who have been infected should be resisted.

The constructive response in containing further spread of the virus is to encourage communities, with compassionate messaging, to stick to the restrictions of Alert Level 4 and follow the All-of-Government advice provided through COVID-19 Government website

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit: summary of who we are, our purpose and work

We have pulled together a summary of the purpose and work of the COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit (PDF, 208KB) which you, your elected members and staff may find useful.

Please distribute or display the attached A3 as you consider appropriate. 

All-of-Government Advice: Easter

Easter is almost here.

You need to stay in your household, stay home and stay local.

You can still celebrate Easter with your loved ones, Church, or community using video chat, email, texting or calling.

Supermarkets will be closed as usual on Good Friday (10 April), but will be open on Easter Sunday (12 April).

There is no need to panic buy. The closure on Good Friday will give staff an opportunity to have a well-deserved rest and give supermarkets the chance to restock their shelves.

All supermarket staff will be able to say no to working on Easter Sunday.

 All of Government COVID-19 response public information

The all of government communications team are now sending a daily COVID-19 email update for the public. You can subscribe and share it as widely as you like. 

Community leader and communications managers can subscribe to the AOG daily FAQ updates by emailing with your name, company and role.