News | 31 March 2020
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Mayoral update for 31 March

Kia ora Wellington – I’m Mayor Andy Foster, with another daily update.

Well done Wellington on staying safe, staying home, staying local, and following the physical distancing and Ministry of Health hygiene protocols.

In between Zoom meetings today, I went out for a local run. There were quite a few people out, clearly in their bubble families, everyone consciously keeping a good distance from other people – but that didn’t stop well separated friendly chats going on.

  Speaking of distancing, Police Commissioner, Mike Bush, and Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, Sarah Stuart-Black, both fellow Wellingtonians, have expressed concerns about how busy places like Oriental Parade and Mount Victoria summit have been during this fine weather.

It’s good to get out and get some exercise together but is essential to only do that with people who live in your bubble. Please don’t congregate with other bubbles!

Normally we all enjoy chatting on the street on a sunny day, but with this unseen, deadly virus, we need to keep good physical separation. So please avoid busy places and times because that risks transmission of the Covid 19 virus. Please also don’t travel to hot spots like these for recreation.

We don’t want to have to close the Mount Victoria lookout, but we will be obliged to if too many people are going up there. Again it is just trying to keep us all safe, and get us through the lockdown as quickly as possible.

And now onto a bit of housekeeping – in particular, wet wipes!

Please we need people to stop disposing of wet wipes down the toilet. Please always place wet wipes in the rubbish.

As people rightly become more vigilant about hygiene, the use of wet wipes has increased markedly. Wet wipes, including so called ‘flushable’ wipes are a major problem for wastewater treatment plants and sewerage systems. They don't break down and ultimately dissolve, and can then block the system.

And another housekeeping issue – unfortunately we’ve had to stop our weekly recycling service for health and safety reasons during the lockdown.

You can put your recyclables into your official yellow Council rubbish bags, or even better thoroughly clean and store your recyclables at home until we can resume the service.

Some people have been approaching our rubbish truck drivers asking them to remove their recycling. Our drivers are trying to carry out rubbish collection without risking their own health, so please be kind and don’t approach them at any time.

  We’ve also had some reports of people dumping their rubbish around the south coast and other areas. This is never ok.

Rubbish collection is an essential service and is still being collected, so there is no reason for this behaviour.

If caught illegally dumping, you can be prosecuted and fined. If you witness illegal dumping, please report it to our Contact Centre team on 499 4444 or email

In some great news today, we announced the opening of 38 self-contained units in a CBD building for the city’s vulnerable Homeless community – providing food, shelter, security, and most importantly a safe place to self-isolate during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

This is outstanding teamwork involving the Council’s welfare team, the Ministry of Social Development, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the City Mission.

The cost of the accommodation is to be covered by MSD and HUD. The City Mission will manage the facility – this means 24/7 staffing, food and support functions. Great work together!

More good news - Willis Street between Ghuznee Street and Boulcott Street has now been reopened to through traffic. This part of Willis Street has been closed since just before Christmas due to the pipe-laying work that was necessary after the collapse of the sewer main at the Willis-Dixon intersection.

I want to thank again Wellington Water staff and our fantastic contractors who’ve worked so hard on this urgent project over the past three months. They said the road would be reopened by the end of March and they were true to their word.

Please take care, stay in your bubbles – and let’s beat this virus.

Kia kaha Wellington and I’ll be back tomorrow with another update.