At least seven Hamilton City Councillors will physically meet under urgency tomorrow before New Zealand goes into lock-down.
The rest will tune in remotely to an extraordinary Council meeting, brought forward from Thursday. By Thursday, physical meetings across the country will not be allowed.
Tomorrow’s meeting will cover a range of delegation options which will allow decision-making in the city to continue, despite the impact of COVID-19. Options may include giving delegated authority for some decisions to the chief executive, or potentially setting up an emergency committee.
By law, tomorrow’s meeting requires seven Councillors to physically attend to make up a decision-making quorum. All other Councillors can tune in remotely.
Hamilton City Council has advised that all other formal meetings at least until 8 April have been cancelled because of Alert 4 restrictions in relations to COVID-19.
Mayor Paula Southgate is urging the government to change the law to enable virtual meetings which allow Councillors to vote.
“We can’t be hampered by legislation which will slow us down. We need to be nimble so we respond quickly to the needs of our community.”
Council staff were working through other meeting options and would advise those options as soon as they were clear, she said.
In the meantime, the work of Council would continue “but just in a different way.”
“We are already using technology to meet virtually as a Council. We’ve done that every day as we work through our response to COVID-19 and we’ll keep doing that. Life carries on.”
Cancelled meetings to date include:
- 26 March 2020 Extraordinary Council Meeting
- 31 March 2020 Finance Committee Meeting
- 1 April 2020 Elected Member Briefing
- 2 April 2020 Strategic Growth Committee Meeting
- 7 April 2020 Community Committee Meeting
- 8 April 2020 Elected Member Briefing