Update - Wednesday 15 April 2020

Prime Minister’s pay cut announcement

Today the Prime Minister announced that she and government ministers would take a 20 per cent pay cut over six months.

It is likely this will require amendment of the Remuneration Authority Act 1977.

We have been approached recently on the matter of possible pay reductions for elected local government officials.

We are advised that the Remuneration Authority also governs the pay levels of local government elected members; and that any reduction of pay levels for Mayors and Councillors would have to occur through the auspices of the Remuneration Authority.

The Local Government Act 2002 would also have to be amended.

We are urgently seeking clarification and further information on today’s announcement and any implications for the sector.

We will update you as soon as we are able. 

Submissions extended on the Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill

The Māori Affairs Select Committee has extended the closing date for submissions on the Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill to 17 May 2020.

You can make a submission on the Bill on the New Zealand Parliament website

Preparing for transition from Alert Level 4

While the decision to exit/extend Level 4 restrictions will not be taken by Cabinet until 20 April 2020, the Prime Minister has signalled that more detail about what life will be like at Levels 3 and 2 will be released tomorrow. 

At Level 3 there will still be restrictions on workplaces, schools and gatherings to make sure New Zealand continues to win the fight against COVID-19.

All-of-Government COVID-19 will have high level information on a potential change in levels and we will ensure you have access to this.

As a Local Government Response Unit, we have been reviewing what this may look like for council services and operations and will provide updated information on this as soon as we are able.

Wet wipes campaign update

On Thursday 9th April the Ministry for the Environment in association with other agencies released a campaign to encourage proper disposal of wet wipes.

This was aimed to prevent flushing and the subsequent issues that are occurring for local government and wastewater systems, as part of the government’s overall COVID-19 response.

Paid social media advertising has reached 583,807 people, and shown 977,949 times, as of 15 April.

The campaign has other online advertising scheduled over the coming week.

It is anticipated that the advertisements will be shown 5 million times by the end of the campaign.

There are multilingual social media tiles now available in: te reo Māori, Samoan, Mandarin, Tagalog, Fijian, Hindi, Tongan and Korean.

Content is being shared with councils though Local Government New Zealand, so that they are able to share the content directly with their communities.

In creating the campaign MfE reached out to a number of stakeholders including councils, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), Countdown, Foodstuffs Water NZ and the COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit.

Your organisation is welcome to use the content, which is all available in a Dropbox.

All of Government resources for Māori and Pacific communities

The COVID-19 website contains content for our Māori communities all in one place, including advice on tikanga Māori gatherings and resources for whānau and iwi.

There is also a range of content for Pacific peoples including a regular Pacific Peoples bulletin.

All-of-Government community support

A large number of New Zealand sign language videos have been added to the COVID19 website. These will be updated as new information becomes available.

The Government has launched a WhatsApp channel for people to find information about COVID-19. 

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available or don’t know who to contact for help, visit COVID-19 website or call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997

All-of-Government subscription links

As previously indicated, local government communications and information managers can subscribe up to the daily All-of-Government COVID-19 update.

You can sign up the All-of-Government daily FAQ document.

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit Webpage

We now have a Response Unit webpage on the Department of Internal Affairs website that is designed to pull together useful information for the sector.

Recent editions of this daily update can be found there and we will link to other guidance for the sector in the coming days.