News | 30 March 2020
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Mayoral update for 30 March

Kia ora Wellington, I’m Mayor Andy Foster.

Several things to talk with you about today.

Lots of wonderful Wellingtonians want to help other people in need, which is awesome. However we have to do this right if we are to stop inadvertent transmission of this deadly disease. We have been given this guidance today as part of our Civil Defence responsibilities.

The guidance is clear: Everyone must remain in self-isolation during the Lockdown, with the exception of established organisations identified as “Essential Services”. This is a requirement set by the Government.

Abiding by the lockdown is critical to breaking the chain and preventing further transmission of COVID-19.

Only people working in an organisation that has been deemed an “Essential Service” by MBIE can coordinate a welfare response at the community and household level. Spontaneous community volunteers are not on the essential services list, so – sorry – you cannot do this.

1. From 8 am tomorrow a person needing welfare assistance can call their local council to request welfare assistance or use the phone number listed on the WREMO.NZ “Seeking Support” page during normal business hours. A call back form will also available for people to submit requests outside of business hours.

2. The local council will refer the query to their local welfare team or partner organisation (e.g. Salvation Army, City Mission etc) to deliver the necessary assistance.

3. The council welfare team will keep track of all assistance requested and given.

4. Partner organisations must be provided with guidance on personal protection and equipment following the Ministry of Health information.

So in summary volunteers must be part of an approved essential service. In Wellington this includes: Volunteer Wellington, City Mission, local food banks, Age Concern, religious support groups, counselling services and Student Volunteer Army etc.

Please check with your volunteer coordinator if you are unsure if your programme is an essential service provider.

The Council is supporting these essential services with the supply of personal protection equiment – such as masks, gloves and sanitisers.

I'd like to remind everyone that there is no Wellington City recycling collection while we are in lockdown conditions.

Our collection involves extensive hand sorting. Normally this gives us by far the highest level of uncontaminated, and therefore usable, recycling in the country but with Covid 19 around we just cannot responsibly continue.

If you can, please wash all your recycling thoroughly and carefully store it for recycling collection when we come back. If you can’t I am afraid it will need to go out in the rubbish. Rubbish collection will continue as usual.

Sadly this afternoon World of Wearable Art announced the cancellation of this September-October shows.

WoW is a spectacular, iconic event that draws thousands of visitors and Wellingtonians alike. It also takes a lot of planning and preparation over many months, and that is clearly not possible in the current environment.

I will look forward to WoW being back bigger and better than ever in 2021.

In the meantime WE Wellington and our wonderful creative community are looking at ways of bringing more of the arts - virtually - to a Lockdown audience.

Rates - I know many people and businesses who have lost some or all of their income are very anxious about Council rates.

As I have said before, this is a rainy day indeed, and your Council is working on a package to significantly reduce the impact of rates and charges on our community.

We will make some further decisions with immediate benefits over the next week and a bit. You will see some coverage in tomorrow’s Dominion Post.

Finally most of us are doing a fantastic job, staying safe and staying in our bubbles. However there are a small minority of people not followng the rules.

We need to look after each other. We are all in this together.

If we do our job, stay in our bubbles, keep at least two metres separation, exercise locally, and take only essential trips for essential supplies to the supermarket, pharmacy, or doctor, and follow all the hygiene protocols – washing hands, coughing or sneezing into our elbows, not touching our faces. If we all do our job we will break the chain of infection. We will save lives.

We will get undoubtedly get out of lockdown quicker.

We will also inflict less damage on our economy, and our standard of living will be much better. So please stay safe, stay separate, stay local, follow the hygiene rules.

Doing the right thing together – we will get through. Kia Kaha Wellington I’ll be back tomorrow with another update.