COVID-19 novel coronavirus

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1. How is Council responding to COVID-19?

Below is the information we can give you right now about our response to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.  We will update this section regularly.  Please explore other areas of this page to learn about Council closures, ways to pay the Council remotely, and links to Central Government, Ministry of Health, and Northland District Health Board online resources.

Updated 13 May 2020:

At 11:59 pm, Wednesday 13 May, COVID-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions took effect.

The Council resumed most services, maintenance programmes and capital works projects when New Zealand went to Alert Level 2 on 14 May.  We also reopened public amenities that were closed during Alert Level 3, including libraries, customer service centres, i-SITE visitor information centres, community halls, playgrounds, skateparks and boat ramps. 

Please note that some of these amenties are operating on reduced hours and providing restricted services to comply with the Government's COVID-19 guidelines.  These guidelines include keeping customer registers to allow for contact tracing, maintaining physical distancing of at least 1-metre between people and limiting gatherings to 10 people.  Please click on Council facilities and Council Services for information about key services during Alert Level 2.  For more information, phone us on Freephone 0800 920 029 seven days a week or lodge requests for service online via our website

Please note, we are dealing with a high volume of calls at the moment and may not be able to answer your call immediately. We encourage you to take advantage of our call-back service instead of waiting in a queue. One of our customer service officers will call you back if you leave your details to save you waiting. Further information about this service is provided in the recorded message that plays before your call is answered.

We also encourage you to find out about the rates relief we are offering to people in hardship and our proposals for supporting the Far North’s economic recovery.

2. Ministry of Health and Central Government resources

For updates, information and advice on COVID-19 from the Ministry of Health (MOH) go their website by clicking the green button below:

Go to MOH website

 

 Go to the Government's offical COVID-19 website by clicking the green button below:

Go to Government Covid-19 website

 

 

3. Community testing centres

The Northland District Health Board (NDHB) has organised community testing centres across the region that people with symptoms can go to for testing (taking the load off medical practices and hospitals).

Go to NDHB wesbite

 

4. Ways to pay council remotely

Updated 29 April 2020:

 This page details ways you can make payments for non-rates or water invoices without having to come into one of our service centres. For rates and water invoice payments click hereWe understand you may need to pay for other services, like licences and building consents.

 

Online/Direct credit

For pensioner housing accounts:

Account Name: Far North District Council
Bank: ASB Bank, Corporate Branch, Auckland
Account Number: 12-3244-0022509-03

For any other payments, e.g. dog registration or parking infringements:

Account Name: Far North District Council
Bank: ASB Bank, Corporate Branch, Auckland
Account Number: 12-3244-0022509-00

For dog registrations and parking infringements, use the registration or infringement number. For all other accounts, please use the customer number provided on the statement


International Money Transfers

Account Name: Far North District Council
Bank: ASB Bank, Corporate Branch, Auckland
Account Number: 12-3244-0022509-00
ASB Swift Code: ASBBNZ2A


By post

Send any cheques to Private Bag 752, Kaikohe, 0440.



By phone

  • You can pay Council over the phone with a credit/debit card for any of our services. You will need a credit card number, expiry date, and 3-digit security code. Please ensure you have your invoice number available when you call us.
  • You can also phone your bank and ask them to process the payment for you.


 

 

5. Media releases

 

6. Council facilities

Updated 13 May 2020:

Most Council facilities will be available for use, with safety controls, when New Zealand goes to COVID-19 Alert Level 2.  Further information is provided below.

Boat ramps

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Council boat ramps across the district are open for use.
  • Boat fishing is permitted under Alert Level 2 as long as your boat is in good condition and you stay well within your skill level to reduce the likelihood of needing emergency services.  Get more safety information here.

Community halls

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2 

  •  Kaikohe Memorial Hall remains closed until further notice.

  • The Council is waiting for hall committees to advise which community halls will reopen.  Committees are still considering whether they have the capability and capacity to comply with Level 2 requirements.  

Customer service centres

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • The Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Kaikohe and Kawakawa customer service centres will be open Monday to Friday from 10am-2pm.
  • Our Kaeo and Rawene customer service centres will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-2pm.
  • Normal services will be available, except appointments with Council staff.

 

 

 

i-SITE visitor information centres

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • The Bay of Islands i-SITE at Paihia is open from 8:30am-5pm seven days a week. 
  • i-SITE visitor information centres at Kaitaia and Opononi are open Monday to Friday from 10am-2pm.
  • i-SITES accept bookings for tours and accommodation and Council payments.
  • Great Train Journeys of New Zealand tickets sold.

 

 

Libraries

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • All Council libraries, except Kaeo, will be open Monday to Friday from 10am-2pm.
  • Kaeo Library will open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm.
  • Library services will be limited to book returning and borrowing.
  • Library members can collect pre-ordered books using our Click and Collect service.
  • Free, public WiFi is available outside libraries.
  • Public computers, photocopiers and scanners will not be available for use.
  • A limited number of people will be allowed in libraries at the same time.
  • No under 14-year-olds (a caregiver with a baby is fine). 
  • Library users must register on arrival at library to allow COVID-19 contact tracing. 

Playgrounds, parks, and skateparks

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Please wash your hands after touching surfaces that might be contaminated with the coronavirus. These surfaces include park benches, hand rails, public toilets and rubbish bins.

  • Parks, reserves, playgrounds and skate parks are open for exercise and recreational purposes.
  • We are continuing to empty rubbish and recycling bins, as well as mow parks.
  • Please maintain a safe distance of 2 metres from others when using parks and reserves.

Public toilets

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Please wash your hands after touching surfaces that might be contaminated with the coronavirus. These surfaces include park benches, hand rails, public toilets and rubbish bins.

  • Most public toilets remain open and we have increased the cleaning of these facilities. 

Walking tracks

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Walking tracks remain open. However, we are asking track users to maintain a distance of 2 metres from other users.
  • We will consider closing tracks if people can’t use these safely.

 

 

7. Council services

Updated 13 May 2020:

Most Council services will resume, with safety controls, when New Zealand goes to COVID-19 Alert Level 2.  Further information is provided below.

  

Animal management

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Animal management officers will continue to respond to call-outs about dog attacks, aggressive, roaming and uncontrolled dogs, as well as wandering stock.
  • Officers will also undertake some proactive work, including dog registration and menacing dog classification enforcement.
  • While attending callouts, officers will comply with restrictions designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
  • People concerned about aggressive or wandering dogs should call the Council on 0800 920 029 24-hours a day, seven days a week as quickly as possible with a full description of the animal.
  • Dogs in the Council’s animal shelter remain well-looked after during Alert Level 2. A dedicated animal management officer is rostered to meet the welfare needs of dogs at all times.
  • Veterinarians are working closely with the Council and will attend the shelter immediately if required.
  • Guidelines are in place to eliminate physical contact between staff and veterinarians to reduce the possibility of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
  • Similar procedures are also in place to ensure that dogs can be returned to their owners, either at the owner’s home or at an agreed place where a two-metre physical distance can be maintained.

Building consents

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Normal services will resume under Alert Level 2.
  • Staff are continuing to work from home and are processing applications remotely 

  • Duty Building Officer support is available by phone. Call 0800 920 029

  • Building Inspections can be booked by calling the contact centre on 0800 920 029

  • Staff will comply with Government physical distancing and hygiene guidelines to ensure the safety of the public and themselves.

 

 

 

Buses

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • The Northland Regional Council manages public transport in Northland.
  • Go to www.buslink.co.nz for up-to-date information on the Hokianga Link, Far North Link and Mid-North Link bus services.

Cemeteries

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Cemeteries remain open to the public.
  • Maintain a 2-metre distance from others when visiting cemeteries.
  • Do not touch anything inside the cemetery, including the cemetery gate or any water taps.
  • We are unable to offer funeral services, graveside services, ash berm services, or plot reservations until further notice.
  • For information on essential services in the health and disability system, please go to the Ministry of Health website.

 

Hokianga Ferry

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2 

  • The Hokianga Ferry will continue to operate as normal. 
  • Roll-on/roll-off passengers must remain in their vehicles.
  • Walk-on passengers must maintain a safe distance of 2 metres. The ferry cabin and toilet will be closed.

Land Information Memorandum (LIM)

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • We are processing Land Information Memoranda (LIM Reports)
  • Staff will continue to work from home during Alert Level 2, so we cannot post or courier LIM Reports to you. These will be provided by email instead. 
  • You can order and pay for your LIM Report online via internet banking.
  • You can now also pay for these over the counter at our service centres, which are again operating under Alert Level 2.  

Account name: Far North District Council 
Bank: ASB Bank, Corporate Branch, Auckland
Account number: 12-3244-0022509-03
Particulars: LIM
Code: 'Address of property LIM relates to'
Reference: Your surname/name of company

Please provide a screenshot of your payment transaction with your LIM application as proof of payment so we can begin to process your LIM faster.

Noise control

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Normal services will resume under Alert Level 2.
  • Staff will comply with Government physical distancing and hygiene guidelines to ensure the safety of the public and themselves. 

 

Official and personal information requests

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • We will continue to respond to requests for information under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.
  • There may be delays in meeting requests for official or personal information.  However, we will notify applicants of these delays before statutory deadlines are due.

 

Resource consents

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Normal services will resume under Alert Level 2. 

  • Staff are continuing to work from home and are processing applications remotely 

  • Duty Planner support is available by phone. Call 0800 920 029

  • Site inspections for Resource Consents requiring engineering checks will be undertaken

  • Staff will comply with Government physical distancing and hygiene guidelines to ensure the safety of the public and themselves. 

Roading and footpaths

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Normal road maintenance and capital works will resume under Alert Level 2.
  • Roading staff will comply with Government physical distancing and hygiene guidelines to ensure the safety of the public and themselves. 


Rubbish and recycling

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Refuse Transfer Stations
  • Refuse transfer stations will remain open at scheduled hours(PDF, 154KB)
  • Full rubbish and recycling services will resume, including the acceptance of plastic containers, aluminium cans and tins.
  • Vehicle and customer numbers will continue to be restricted.
  • Social distancing applies.  If possible, only one person should get out of each vehicle.
  • No assistance can be provided by attendants.
  • Contact tracing is required (your vehicle registration will be recorded).
  • Limited cash handling - please use EFTPO where available.
Community Recycling Centres
  • These remain closed under Alert Level 2 while we clarify contact tracing requirements.
  • Please take your recyclables to a refuse transfer station. 
  • Alternatively, store your recyclables hygienically until Government COVID-19 restrictions allow us to reopen these centres.     

Kerbside rubbish and recycling services

The two private companies that provide these services in the Far North have confirmed that:

  • Kerbside rubbish collections provided by private operators will continue under Alert Level 2. 
  • Kerbside recycling collections will resume from Monday 18 May.

Please contact the waste companies who provide these kerbside services for more information.  

Water and wastewater

Services during COVID-19 Alert Level 2

  • Normal maintenance and capital works will resume under Alert Level 2.
  • Staff will comply with Government physical distancing and hygiene guidelines to ensure the safety of the public and themselves. 

 

8. Contact us

If you can not find an answer to your question at the Council Services or Council Facilities links on this page, please fill in the form below and a member of our contact centre team will be in touch with you soon.

Which Council service or facility are you enquiring about?
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9. Rates Relief information

Updated 29 April 2020:

The fourth instalment for this rating year is due on 20 May 2020. We know some ratepayers are facing financial hardship due to impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus and Northland’s drought. While we cannot change the rates already struck or the total due for your property, we can offer payment options to help you get through the coming months. These include:

  • Spreading payments equally over the instalment period or beyond
  • Increasing the frequency of a direct debit to make smaller more regular payments
  • Reducing the amount of your direct debit temporarily until your situation improves.
  • Removing penalties on payment arrears.

 

Before you apply

Before applying to adjust your rates payments, please check other assistance options. You may be eligible for:

 

How to apply

  • If you would still like to apply for rates relief from FNDC, please read the criteria below:

         For resident/owners

    • Proof you live at the property you are paying rates for AND
    • Confirmation from your bank of your mortgage holiday OR
    • Copy of the letter from your employer of wage payment under the government support package OR
    • Copy of the letter that your employment has been terminated.


      For commercial property owners

    • Supporting documentation of a 30 per cent loss of income OR
    • Confirmation of qualification of the government support package OR
    • Confirmation from your bank of your mortgage holiday.

Our Debt Management team will work out a payment plan for the next six months or the next two instalments to avoid incurring penalties. They will take into account the balance owed on the account and your financial situation to help you manage your finances and quickly repay any balance owed once your financial situation improves.

 How to apply

Email us at askus@fndc.govt.nz or call 0800 920 029 if you would like to discuss payment options – we want to help.


FAQ's

What help is there for ratepayers impacted by COVID-19?

The Council has adopted relief measure that allow you to delay payment of your rates for up to six months if you meet eligibility criteria. We are also supporting the delivery of food, water and medicine to people in need as part of Northland’s emergency management response to COVID-19 and the drought. Please note, the assistance we are offering is an interim measure until we have a clearer understanding of COVID-19’s impact on Council finances and the economy. We anticipate further central government direction and support for councils over the coming months. You may also be eligible for an accommodation supplement from Work and Income. This is a non-taxable, weekly payment you can use to pay your rates. You can get more information about this by phoning the Ministry of Social Development on 0800 559 009. Please call us if you would like more information about rates relief. We are here to help.

 

Why doesn’t the Council waive 2019/20 rates?

We need to ensure that we are able to fund essential services that employ local people and support our communities. If we reduce rates, we put vital services, jobs and our economy at risk. This balancing act is a challenge all councils face. We are collectively looking at funding options with central government through Local Government New Zealand, so we can keep growing our district and serving our communities. It should also be noted that we are bound by legislation and cannot simply waive rates that have already been adopted through a statutory process. We haven’t set rates for 2020/21 yet, but we will consider affordability before we adopt our Annual Plan 2020/21. We know some people are struggling financially and we will do our best to deliver relief. 

 

What impact will COVID-19 have on Council finances?

It is too early to accurately forecast the impact an economic downturn will have on Council finances. A lot will depend on when the lockdown ends, how long strict border controls are in place and the speed of the global economic recovery. That said, the Council anticipates a revenue shortfall in 2020/21. We are already reviewing our operational budgets as a response to this and have asked managers to reduce expenditure. We are also rethinking how we do business more efficiently after the pandemic lockdown. The situation is changing rapidly and all councils are in unchartered territory. Our Crisis Management Team is meeting daily to monitor and plan our response. The Mayor and Councillors are meeting fortnightly and communicating with each other and staff daily, so the Council is able to respond to challenges and opportunities quickly. We are continuously reviewing our budgets and work programmes in the lead-up to adopting our Annual Plan.

10. Food and Alcohol Businesses

Updated 29 April 2020:

Food Businesses

At Alert Level 2 businesses can have customers on their premises if they can meet public health requirements. This means businesses should:

  • have good contact registers, or contact tracing records, in place to record everyone who you interact with on your premises
  • maintain physical distancing of 1 metre between groups of customers, or 2 metres if not possible to keep contact tracing records
  • not have groups larger than 10 people
  • maintain a 2 hour time limit for groups to be on your premises.

Most businesses can open their premises to the public:

  • cafes, restaurants, and bars for dining
  • butchers, bakeries, and fishmongers.

Hospitality businesses should keep groups seated, separated, and use a single server if possible. This means each group has one server, though servers can each serve more than one table.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has developed useful guidelines for businesses who intend to operate during Alert Level 2.

Staff will continue to process applications, onsite verifications will resume 26 May 2020.

If you have any questions regarding your food registration, please contact the Environmental Health Services team on free phone 0800 920 029.

 

Alcohol Businesses

During Alert Level 2, licensed premises can have customers on their premises if they can meet public health requirements. This means businesses should:

  • have good contact registers, or contact tracing records, in place to record everyone who you interact with on your premises
  • maintain physical distancing of 1 metre between groups of customers, or 2 metres if not possible to keep contact tracing records
  • not have groups larger than 10 people
  • maintain a 2 hour time limit for groups to be on your premises.

Taverns and bars should only open if they provide a meal to patrons. If you are unable to do this, you are unable to open until 21 May 2020.

Council staff will continue to process applications, onsite compliance visits will resume 18 June 2020.

If you have any questions regarding your licensed premises please contact the Environmental Health Services team, on free phone 0800 920 029.

 

11. Our economic recovery

Updated 29 April 2020:

 Central government is looking to local government to co-lead the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council has identified five funding streams and is preparing bids that create jobs, improve infrastructure and stimulate the economy. We expect there will be further extraordinary funding opportunities, so are watching this space closely.

 

Funds for big infrastructure

Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd is seeking infrastructure projects that are ready for construction within 12 months and have a value of at least $10 million. We have submitted proposals for 19 projects that include major upgrades of water and wastewater infrastructure in the district.

Funds for small infrastructure

We have identified a number of small infrastructure projects that may be eligible for funding under the Northland Employment Opportunities Fund which aims to create jobs for semi-skilled workers. These projects include cycle trail and footpath construction and stormwater drain clearance.

Funds to grow the district

The Far North has already received significant investment in infrastructure and tourism facilities, thanks to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. We are seeking further funds to strengthen roads that are key freight routes or are strategically important to primary industries.

Funds for drought relief

The Government has already provided $2 million for temporary water supplies in Kaitaia and Kaikohe. We are seeking further funds from $3 million of drought relief money the Government announced for Northland in March. Responding to the drought has cost the Council $2.86 million to date.

Funds for the environment

The Government has indicated a willingness to fund tree planting and fencing projects at waterways in dairy and cattle farming areas to improve water quality. While funding details are unclear at this stage, we will be looking to maximise opportunities for Far North communities.