COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 - Eliminate. This means that it is likely that the disease is not contained.​ Visit covid19.govt.nz to find out more, including what this means for you.

As countries and organisations collectively respond to this pandemic, it's important that we share the practical steps Horizons is taking to keep our people and customers safe.

While most Horizons staff members are now working from home, essential services such as emergency response, passenger transport and emergency consents continue to operate.

Jump to:

Welfare and support
How we're responding
Essential services
Service centres
Public transport
Consents and consent monitoring
Council meetings and live-streaming

Welfare and support

The Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MWCDEM) Group has activated a dedicated welfare helpline to assist with local access to household goods and services such as food, water, clothing and bedding.

The Freephone number, 0800 725 678, will be available from 7am until 7pm, seven days a week, and is a service for people not able to make arrangements through their own support networks.

Find out more about welfare and support services during the lockdown.

How we're responding

While the Ministry of Health is the lead agency for a pandemic response, Civil Defence has a role to play in ensuring all responding agencies are connected.

For the Horizons Region, this includes four district health boards – MidCentral, Whanganui, Lakes and Waikato – the region’s city and district councils, emergency services, and government agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development.

As the MWCDEM Group lead, Horizons activated our Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) in Palmerston North on 16 March 2020 at Level 2, and raised this to Level 3 on 24 March.

The ECC is responsible for the regional coordination of the national pandemic response. Functions include intelligence, planning, operations, logistics, welfare and public information management.

Essential services

Our focus during the lockdown has been on delivering essential services, including operating our Emergency Coordination Centre, passenger transport, emergency consent processing and pollution response for serious environmental incidents.

However, we are now turning our attention to what else we can bring online, while ensuring we meet the pandemic alert level guidelines and the areas they’re applicable to. We will provide more information as we work through this process.

Service centres

Please note that our service centres are closed to the public until further notice. We recommend you make any enquires or payments online if possible. If you don't have access to email, you can give us a call on 0508 800 800.
 

Public transport

Public transport will be focused on allowing essential workers to travel between their homes and workplaces, and to allow the public access to food and medical care. 

We want to keep our community safe. It’s really important that each time you use the bus, your trip details and contact information are recorded. This is so we can provide this information to the Ministry of Health if it is required. Every time you use the bus, you must either call us on 0508 800 800, or fill in this form.

Please see our bus notices page for full timetable information.

Consents and consent monitoring

Our Consents team is set up to continue receiving and processing resource consents from home, however they may not be able to answer your questions immediately. Resource consents are not considered an essential activity unless it is for an essential service, which means some activities may be prioritised over non-essential ones.

Please note that, with our offices closed, we are unable to accept physical copies of applications, or physical payment of deposit fees. We are encouraging any applicants to lodge consents and pay deposits electronically, rather than by post, with applications sent to regulatory.administrator@horizons.govt.nz.

Find out more in our Apply for consent section.

As an existing resource consent holder, you may have conditions in your consent that require you to undertake monitoring. If you are unable to undertake that monitoring due to the shutdown, please note that Horizons Regional Council will not consider this as a non-compliance.

You may also have other conditions of your consent that you are unable to meet due to being confined in lock-down. If this is the case please contact your designated Consents Monitoring Officer, and also send an email to consents.monitoring@horizons.govt.nz.

Please contact the pollution hotline via 0508 800 800 if the matter is urgent.

Find out more in our Consents monitoring section.

Council meetings and live-streaming

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, council meetings cannot be held in their normal form. Instead, Parliament has removed the need for council to have a physical quorum, enabling council members to attend meetings through teleconferencing and be counted as present. 

On the day of Regional Council meetings, we will live stream the meeting directly to our Facebook page. The recordings will remain on our Facebook page if you would like to watch them post-meeting.

Council held its first 'virtual' meeting on Tuesday 7 April 2020, during which it was decided to revise our 2020-21 Annual Plan. While this will no longer be officially consulted on, ways for our community to provide feedback are being explored, with the aim to adopt the Plan by late May. The meeting also included a discussion around possible rates relief for 2020-21.

Read our latest media release, or watch the meeting on Facebook for more information.