- Additional Council services to resume at Alert Level 3
- Residential rates rebate applications have opened.
- Glass recycling collection has resumed.
- Chief Executive has confirmed 20% pay cut to go into staff hardship fund
- Waikato councils have pitched 23 shovel-ready projects to the Government for funding
- Phase one of the Council’s recovery plan has been approved
- Reduced public transport services will be in effect while at COVID-19 Alert Level 4
- Recycling will not be collected while at COVID-19 Alert Level 4
- Rubbish will be collected while at COVID-19 Alert Level 4
- Council non-essential services to cease after close of business on Wednesday 25 March
- Public venues to be closed from Tuesday 24 March
- Organisations to enforce alternative ways of working to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from Monday 23 March
- All Council community facilities will be temporarily closed effective Sunday 22 March
- There are no known cases of COVID-19 at Hamilton City Council
Update: 21 April 2020
Hamilton City Council prepares for Alert Level 3
New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April.
The Council will continue to maintain its essential city services while supporting the health and wellbeing of the community and staff in response to the new alert level.
Some additional essential services will be resuming under Alert Level 3, including the road safety improvement programme, contactless animal registrations, the City Safe Suburban Response Team two-person patrols, the Refuse Transfer Station opening to the public and some construction sites restarting, as long as safe work practices and physical distancing can be maintained.
Applications open for COVID-19 rates rebate
Applications for Hamilton City Council’s extended rates rebate as part of its COVID-19 support package are now open.
The extended rates rebate is a key action in our 12-point recovery plan to help Hamilton withstand the impact of COVID-19.
Update: 17 April 2020
Glass recycling collections back on
Glass kerbside collections are set to resume from Monday 20 April following a three-week break due to safety concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rinsed glass jars and bottles placed in green recycling crates and put out on collection day will now be emptied and recycled.
Hamilton residents are asked to place only glass recycling in their crates to ensure rubbish collectors can empty the contents directly into the recycling part of the truck without having to sort items by hand.
Crates with plastics, tins and cans mixed with glass will not be emptied.
Statement from Hamilton City Council Chief Executive Richard Briggs
Hamilton City Council Chief Executive Richard Briggs has confirmed today that he will be taking a pay cut of 20% for the next six months to help those who are struggling with the impacts of COVID-19.
This money will be directed specifically into a staff hardship fund that has been set up at Hamilton City Council. The fund includes donations from Mr Briggs and others and is available for Hamilton City Council staff members experiencing hardship.
The pay cut will take place immediately and will be reassessed after six months.
Waikato united on pitch for government funding
Waikato mayors say local councils and their partners have “turned over every possible stone” in their bid to secure government money to help rebuild the Waikato economy following COVID-19.
Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson, Waipa District Mayor Jim Mylchreest and Hamilton City Mayor Paula Southgate each lead high-growth councils which are facing big demand for new infrastructure.
They said efforts to pitch projects to Wellington for co-funding had been exhaustive but the region was united in putting a Waikato-centric case to Wellington.
This week local councils pitched 23 shovel-ready projects to the Government plus a further nine packages of work focusing on medium to longer-term opportunities.
The shovel-ready proposals, worth $1.5B, will be considered over coming weeks before Crown ministers decide what gets supported.
Update: 14 April 2020
Hamilton City preparing for revenue drop
Hamilton City Council is forecasting a $33 million drop in revenue because of COVID-19.
The Council, which turns over $378M each year, is forecasting a reduction in consent fees, engineering fees and development charges. It estimates money paid to Council from community facilities like pools and libraries and visitor destinations, such as the Waikato Museum and Hamilton Zoo, could drop by as much as $5M over two years.
Chief Executive Richard Briggs said the Council’s initial modelling shows under a best-case scenario, with business back to normal by July this year, the financial impact will be significant.
Under a worst-case scenario, with business back to normal by October 2020, financial impacts, would be ‘crippling’.
Either way, the impacts will likely see the Council breaching its debt to revenue ratio limits – meaning it could not legally borrow more money to make up the shortfall and keep the city moving. Nor could Council balance its books until 2025/26 at the earliest. This is despite Hamilton City being in a much stronger position than many other councils.
If you need help, reach out
The North Waikato Combined Emergency Operations Centre (NWCEOC) – a joint initiative between Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council – is encouraging people if they need to seek help to call 1737.
This is the Ministry of Health’s 24-hour confidential support line.
Paul Blewman, one of four shift controllers for the NWCEOC, says now more than ever it’s vital people look after their mental and physical health.
“Even if you feel you are doing ok I encourage you to have a look at some of the wellbeing campaigns and public information out there, including the Getting Through Together – Whāia E Tātou Te Pae Tawhiti toolkit which has been created by the Mental Health Foundation,” says Mr Blewman.
“The online toolkit, available at allright.org.nz, has been set up for coping with the effects of COVID-19 and the Alert Level 4 lock down and provides proven ways you can help yourself and others during lockdown.”
Update: 9 April 2020
Emergency food and crisis support receives first of Council funding
Community groups providing emergency food and crisis services are among the first organisations to receive funding support from Hamilton City Council.
The first $184,000 has been allocated to nine community groups including Western Community Centre, Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust, St Vincent de Paul, The Serve Trust, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa, Te Whakaruruhau, Male Support Services, Diversity Counselling NZ and Cancer Society Waikato/BOP Division.
Chair of the Community Committee Mark Bunting said the Council was moving fast to ensure support was getting to where it was most needed.
Update: 8 April 2020
City seeks Government support to go greener
Hamilton City Council will pitch a suite of environmental initiatives to the Government as part of its plan to help the city recover from COVID-19.
Major infrastructure programmes will include specific proposals to replant gullies, build extensive separated cycleways and walkways, enhance fresh water quality and improve public transport in the city.
Proposals will focus on fast-tracking infrastructure projects – some regional – and would include pitches for roading projects, community-based initatives, water and wastewater treatment and more. There is a big focus on transport improvements including bus, rail and passenger transport.
Update: 7 April 2020
Easter rubbish collection changes
Hamilton’s kerbside rubbish will be collected a day later from Friday 10 April due to the Easter long weekend.
Normal collection days will resume Monday 20 April.
Hamiltonians urged to share with care on river paths
Hamilton’s popular river paths are busier than ever as more people exercise locally, but not everyone is remembering to share with care.
Hamilton City Council’s transportation data scientists recorded a daily average of 900 river path users last week, the first full week since the country went to Alert Level 4. Normal weekday usage is fewer than 500 people.
Many of the paths are less than two metres wide – the distance we all need to maintain from people not in our “bubble”.
With increased foot and bike traffic, path users need to be especially careful about physical distancing. That may mean stepping off the track where it’s safe to do so and waiting for other people to pass by.
Update: 6 April 2020
‘Bin it, don’t flush it’
Since the Covid-19 lockdown began, around 20 call outs relating to wastewater blockages have been attended to by Hamilton City Council.
One of the significant contributors to these blockages is wet wipes and cleaning wipes being flushed down people’s toilets.
“These wipes contain plastic fibre which can clog up pipes and pumps fundamental to the operation of our wastewater treatment plant and network,” says the Council’s City Waters Manager Maire Porter.
Everyday items that should not enter the wastewater system include wet wipes, nappies, sanitary items, cotton buds, oils and grease, cleaning products/chemicals/paints, food scraps, paper, plastics and paint rinse water.
Update: 3 April 2020
Councils join forces as Civil Defence supports COVID-19 response
Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council have joined forces to operate a North Waikato Combined Emergency Operations Centre (NWCEOC) to co-ordinate community support during the COVID-19 National State of Emergency.
The public health response is being led by the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards, but at a local level there is a raft of community support requirements to be managed as the nation deals with the wider wellbeing needs of residents and visitors.
Update: 2 April 2020
Hamilton self-isolation site set up for freedom campers
Porritt Stadium has been set up as a COVID-19 self-isolation site for freedom campers.
The stadium changing rooms will be available for visitors’ use and will be cleaned daily. There will be 24-hour, seven day a week security at the site. Campers will be required to maintain physical distancing.
Money to move quickly into community
Community groups which apply for assistance from the Waikato Community Funders Group should know within a maximum of three days if they have been successful.
Last week Hamilton City Council announced it would contribute $1M to the new fund set up to support essential city welfare services for at-risk people in response to COVID-19.
Support would be targeted to direct action, non-profit organisations that supply essential food and other goods, accommodation, support for those in unsafe situations and provide services to people with disabilities.
Keep dogs on a lead, help prevent the spread of COVID-19
Hamilton City Council’s Animal Education and Control Team has an important message for all dog owners: keep your dog on a lead at all times during Alert Level 4.
“This goes for all parks and open spaces including our off-lead dog parks,” says Animal Education and Control Manager Susan Stanford.
As more people walk their dogs during lockdown, the potential for dog attacks and fights increases. These attacks then require owners getting closer than the physical distance guidelines, putting themselves and others at risk of cross contamination.
Update: 1 April 2020
Helpline set up to help struggling Waikato people
Freephone 0800 800 405 has been established for Waikato people struggling to get food, groceries, medication or other household goods and services.
The freephone service established by the Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group is available between 7am and 7pm daily, but does not replace other government helplines already in operation.
Call centre staff will collect information which will enable local welfare teams to prioritise the needs of individuals and whaanau during the self-isolation period, and then coordinate the necessary support.
These measures will particularly assist the disabled, at risk groups, and people without access to their own transport.
Update: 26 March 2020
City announces 12-point recovery plan
The Council has announced a 12-point plan to help the city withstand the economic and social impact expected from COVID-19.
The Council approved phase one of the programme today, costed at $3.4M. The programme includes:
- $1M available to community groups, in addition to Council’s current community grants ($440,000)
- Bringing forward payments to all suppliers (due 20 April 2020) to be paid immediately
- Full refunds to anyone who wants to cancel a building consent or resource consent application
- Waiving rent for community groups and businesses that are unable to pay rent
- Extending the Council’s rates rebates scheme to include ratepayers who have recently lost their jobs and don’t have savings
- Deferring some development contribution payments
- Partnering with Te Waka and others to provide on-the-ground practical support for small and medium businesses.
Phase two is still to come and will involve government, city businesses, and potentially bringing forward a suite of multi-million dollar capital projects already planned for the city.
City public transport during COVID-19 lockdown
Reduced public transport services will be in effect in Hamilton from Thursday 26 March, while the country is at Alert Level 4.
Although the Hamilton City Transport Centre building is closed to the public, Waikato Regional Council’s bus services will continue to run, but in a limited capacity.
Bus travel will only be available to people who work in an essential service or who need to use the bus to access an essential service, like healthcare or the supermarket.
Five bus services – the CBD Shuttle, Night Rider, 4N Flagstaff North, 17 Hamilton East Uni and 29 Hamilton Gardens – will not operate during the lockdown period.
Bus travel is free of charge to avoid contact between drivers and passengers. Bus entry where possible will be by the rear doors and passengers will be asked to practise physical distancing onboard and sit in separate rows to others.
The city’s Lime scooters and carshare LOOP vehicles have been removed from the streets and are out of service until further notice.
Update: 25 March 2020
Rubbish and recycling collections during COVID-19 Alert Level 4
Kerbside rubbish collections will continue across the city while COVID-19 Alert Level 4 is in place.
However, kerbside recycling collections will cease from Wednesday 25 March due to the closure of facilities that sort and process recyclables. The Refuse Transfer Station at 60 Lincoln St is also closed.
Overfilled or heavy rubbish bags can be a health and safety hazard for our rubbish collection team. Please make sure they can safely lift your rubbish, so this critical service can continue to operate smoothly.
Recycling can be stockpiled until the Refuse Transfer Station reopens or the collection service resumes. Paper and cardboard will be collected but may be sent to landfill.
Chief Executive gets temporary Council delegations
Hamilton City Council has temporarily passed decision-making powers to Chief Executive Richard Briggs while the Council is in lock-down.
Elected Members unanimously agreed to extend the Chief Executive’s delegations so key decisions can be made to keep the city going.
The delegation will only be in place until the full Council is able to meet again, or until the law which forces at least seven councillors to be physically together to vote is changed.
“This is simply about keeping the city functioning until things return to normal,” Mayor Paula Southgate said.
“Importantly, we will still have Elected Member oversight and input into what’s going on, but we have the ability to be agile and keep doing the immediate business that needs to be done.”
Update: 24 March 2020
Following Government guidance, Hamilton City Council has confirmed several new changes to its services while the country is at COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
Chief Executive Richard Briggs says the Government’s message has been extremely clear and now we all must do our part to get through the next four weeks.
“Our focus is primarily on the health and wellbeing of our community. To limit any community spread of COVID-19, we need to ensure people are not congregating in public spaces.
“We don’t want people in situations where they can’t safely maintain the two metres physical distance required at this time.”
Update: 23 March 2020
Update: 21 March 2020
All Council community facilities will be closed effective Sunday 22 March as a precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is a temporary closure until further notice.
This includes all Hamilton City Libraries, Waterworld, the Gallagher Aquatic Centre, Hamilton Zoo, Waikato Museum, ArtsPost and the Hamilton i-SITE. The Auaha makerspace at the front of the Central Library and the Smart Space in Garden Place will also close.
Hamilton Gardens’ open spaces and privately-owned café will remain open, but the themed gardens and Information Centre will be closed to visitors.
There will be no services held at Hamilton Park Cemetery Chapel and Crematorium chapel. However, graveside services will be allowed if physical distancing is maintained.
Update: 20 March 2020
We can now confirm the Hamilton City Council team member being tested for COVID-19 has tested negative.
We are not aware of any other Hamilton City Council team member being tested for COVID-19.
Testing for COVID-19 is an important part of the process, the Government is currently able to test up to 1500 people every day – this could increase if needed. Being tested ensures our community stays safe, particularly when combined with physical distancing and self-isolation.
Hamilton City Council has successfully tested a key component of its business continuity plans in preparation for further potential impacts of COVID-19.