COVID-19 novel coronavirus

Unite against Covid 19.jpg

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 at 8:30am, 26 March, 2020:

Nationwide Level 4 restrictions aimed at eliminating the COVID-19 pandemic took effect from 11:59 on 25 March.  Under these restrictions, public venues (e.g. libraries) must close and only businesses that provide essential services may continue to operate at their normal premises.  Businesses that provide non-essential services must close their normal premises and stop operating if staff can’t work from home.  The following local government functions are defined as ‘essential services’ in Government guidelines:

  • Drinking water and wastewater services
  • Solid waste (rubbish and recycling) services
  • Cemeteries and crematoria
  • Responses to stormwater events
  • Maintenance of public toilets
  • Animal management services (including caring for impounded dogs)
  • Urgent repairs to road surfaces, bridges and traffic management, including traffic lights
  • Public transport
  • Social housing
  • Building consents where there is an urgent need for construction work associated with COVID-19 response work.

The Far North District Council closed libraries, visitor information centres, customer service centres, halls and pools indefinitely on 23 March.  Management is now focused on maintaining delivery of essential services and providing business continuity around non-essential services where possible.  We ask for the patience of our customers as we transition to new ways of working during the pandemic lockdown. 

People can phone us on 0800 920 029 or lodge requests for service online via our website while our customer service centres are closed.  Please note that 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 in a queue.  Further information about this service is provided in the recorded message that plays while you are waiting for your call to be answered.

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

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 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.

 

5. Media releases

 

6. Council facilities

Some council facilities will be temporarily closed in response to Covid-19. We will update this section as new facilities close or reduce their services.

Boat Ramps

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update: 

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.

  • Please do not use boat ramps in accordance with the Government’s appeal to boaties not to go on the water.  We will consider restricting access to boat ramps if people ignore this.

Community centres and swimming pools

  COVID-19 novel coronavirus update: 

  • All community centres and swimming pools are closed until further notice.

Customer service centres

 COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  •  Due to Covid-19 all customer service centres are closed until further notice. Contact Centre staff can still be reached on 0800 920 029.

 

 

i-SITE visitor information centres

  COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • All i-SITE locations are closed until further notice.

Libraries

  COVID-19 novel coronavirus update: 

  • All Council libraries are closed during the pandemic lockdown.
  • There will be no WiFi internet access during the lockdown, because the National Library has temporarily shut down the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa.
  • We have increased our range of eLibrary content and encourage people to check these resources out:

    Online Library Resources

    • Online resources include:
      • Overdrive/Library eBooks and eAudiobooks,
      • Borrowbox eBooks and eAudiobooks,
      • Wheelers eBooks and eAudiobooks
      • Mango Languages
      • Brigid Williams Books Treaty of Waitangi collection eBooks
      • Haynes auto Manuals
      • RB Digital Magazines
      • Ancestry genealogy site.

     

Playgrounds, parks, and skateparks

 COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:

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.

  •  We have closed playgrounds and skateparks, but kept parks and reserves open and are advising people to maintain a safe distance of 2 metres from others when using these.

Public toilets

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

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.

  • Public toilets are an ‘essential service’ and we have stepped up our cleaning at these. 
  • Most toilets remain open.  However, we have closed some at the request of the Police who have been concerned about anti-social or unacceptable behaviour. 
  • The Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Charitable Trust (KHPCT) has closed the Hundertwasser Toilets citing health and safety risks for their cleaners.
  • We are considering a request from the trust to take over responsibility for cleaning the toilets during the lockdown.

Walking Tracks

 COVID-19 novel coronavirus update: 
  • 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

How will the Council deliver essential and non-essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown?  We have outlined key changes here and will update this information regularly.

 

Animal Management

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • We are continuing to respond to call-outs about dog attacks, aggressive, roaming and uncontrolled dogs, as well as wandering stock.
  • We are giving priority to dog attacks, especially attacks on people.
  • While attending callouts, Animal Management Officers are complying with lockdown restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • People concerned about aggressive or wandering dogs should call the Council on 0800 920 029 24/7 with a full description of the animal as quickly as possible.
  • Animal Management Officers are not making site visits for non-urgent call-outs, including barking dogs, dog registration enforcement, menacing dog classification enforcement, microchipping service and Dog Bylaw breaches at beaches.
  • Animal Management Officers are phoning the owners of barking dogs if they are known to them and advising them of their responsibilities as dog-owners. They will follow up with site visits when the Government relaxes pandemic restrictions.
  • Dogs in the Council’s animal shelter are well-looked after during the lockdown.  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.
  • The Council will delay the upgrade of Melka Kennels in Kaikohe as the Council’s new Southern Area Animal Shelter until the Government lifts restrictions.

Building Consents

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update: 

  • The Government has decided only building consents for emergency building works associated with the national response to COVID-19 are an ‘essential service’ during the pandemic lockdown
  • We therefore won’t be able to undertake building inspections, site works or other field work unless these relate to essential building works
  • This may result in delays in issuing building consents and other permits
  • The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment recognises that building consent authorities may have difficulties issuing building consents within the 20-day statutory timeframe
  • It has assured building consent authorities that any breaches of this statutory timeframe will not affect their accreditation
  • We apologise to our customers for any delays which are beyond our control
  • We will, however, continue to offer a duty building and building support help service via phone and email five days a week
  • We will also process returned information on final building inspects to support the issuing of code compliance certificates.

 

 

Buses

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • 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

 COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • Cemeteries remain open, but people visiting them need to comply with Government self-isolation restrictions during the pandemic lockdown.
  • We are unable to offer funeral services, graveside services, ash berm services, or plot reservations until we receive further notice from the Ministry of Health. We will update this information soon.
  • For information on essential services in the health and disability system under the pandemic lockdown, please go to the Ministry of Health website.
  • Cemeteries remain open to the public. Maintain 2-metre social distancing, and do not touch anything inside the cemetery, including the cemetery gate or any water taps.

     

 

 

Ferries

 COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • The Hokianga Ferry will continue to operate as normal during the pandemic lockdown.  However, we may adjust the frequency of sailings if demand falls
  • Roll-on/roll-off passengers must remain in their vehicles
  • Walk-on passengers must maintain a safe distance of 2 metres and wear appropriate clothing, because the cabin and toilet will be closed
  • Paihia and Russell Wharves will remain open for essential commercial vessel operations
  • Passenger ferry services between Paihia and Russell have been suspended
  • Private ferry operators may adjust the frequency of sailings based on demand
  • Go to the Fullers website for information about the Opua-Okiato ferry.

Land Information Memorandum (LIM)

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • We will continue to process Land Information Memoranda (LIM reports) during the pandemic lockdown.
  • There may be delays in issuing reports due to technical challenges.  We will contact applicants if we are not likely to provide LIMs within 10 days of receiving applications.
  • We are unable to post or courier LIM reports during the lockdown.  Delivery is by email only.
  • We can only accept payment of LIM application fees by internet banking during the pandemic lockdown.  See below for online payment details*:

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

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:

  • The Government doesn’t consider noise control to be an essential service during the pandemic lockdown
  • The Council is therefore unable to send noise control officers to properties if complaints are lodged
  • Please call the Police on 105 or 111 – in an emergency – if there is excessive noise or disorderly behaviour
  • We apologise for the loss of service which is due to circumstances beyond our control.

 

Official and personal information requests

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • We will continue to respond to requests for information under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act during the pandemic lockdown.
  • 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

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:

  • The provision of a resource consents service is not an ‘essential service’ under the Government’s pandemic lockdown restrictions.
  • Staff will continue to process applications, but site visits will be postponed until restrictions are removed.
  • Concept development meetings, pre-application meetings and hearings will be deferred unless these can be conducted online.
  • Specialist advice may be unavailable or slower to obtain.
  • Because of the above, there may be delays in issuing consents.
  • We apologise to our customers for any delays which are beyond our control.

 

Roading and Footpaths

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • Essential work required to keep Northland’s roads open and safe will continue during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown
  • The Northland Transport Alliance, working with Waka Kotahi - the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), has developed guidelines specifying maintenance that must continue on the region’s roading network
  • The guidelines will ensure Northland roads remain open and safe for travellers, and also protect the health and safety of road crews and their suppliers during the pandemic lockdown
  • Road maintenance will fall into four categories:
  • Incident response, which includes clearing slips, traffic management, and making roads safe following major events such as storms
  • Road safety, which requires all road surfaces to be kept safe for travellers and freight and free from significant defects.  Road markings and sightlines must also be maintained
  • Resilience and access, which includes the ongoing maintenance of drains, removal of debris, repair of missing or damaged road features and the continued monitoring of the road network
  • Other, non-urgent maintenance will be deferred during the lockdown.
  • The Northland Transport Alliance was formed in 2016 by the Far North, Whangarei, and Kaipara District Councils, in partnership with the Northland Regional Council and NZTA.  The aim is to share resources and deliver better, more cost-effective transport options for all Northlanders. The NTA is responsible for all new works, renewals and maintenance on local roads
  • The Council is suspending new footpath works during the lockdown, because these are not ‘essential services’.

 

 

Rubbish and Recycling

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:

Kerbside rubbish collections

  • Kerbside rubbish collections operated by private companies will continue during the lockdown, but recyclables will not be collected because these have to be manually sorted by workers.

Refuse transfer stations

ONLY GO TO A TRANSFER STATION IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A KERBSIDE RUBBISH COLLECTION SERVICE.

  • Refuse transfer stations will remain open for rubbish disposal at the usual times during the lockdown, but recyclables will not be accepted, because these have to be manually sorted by workers
  • Please only use refuse transfer stations if there isn’t a kerbside collection directly next to your property
  • Please ensure there is only one person per car if you are visiting a refuse transfer station unless two people are needed to unload rubbish.
  • No bulk loads, including trailers.
  • Rubbish must be in bags not loose.
  • Only two vehicles are allowed at refuse transfer stations at the same time.
  • In the interests of safety, refuse station staff will not be able to help people unload rubbish.
  • No cash payments if EFTPOS or payWave is unavailable.
  • Community recycling stations are closed during the lockdown.
  • Please rinse and store your recyclables at home until further notice.

 

 

 

Water and Wastewater

COVID-19 novel coronavirus update:  

  • We are continuing to develop supplementary water sources for Kaitaia and Kaikohe during the pandemic lockdown
  • We are limiting maintenance of our water network to repairs that are essential to maintaining supply of water to households and businesses
  • We have suspended water meter readings during the lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and will base water bills on estimated water use
  • Staff at our alliance partner, Far North Waters, are working in smaller teams to minimise the spread of COV-19 and to ensure business continuity
  • We are limiting maintenance of our wastewater network to essential repairs during the lockdown.