Horizons Regional Council essential services and Emergency Coordination Centre under extended Alert Level 4 lockdown

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of an extended Level 4 lockdown until Tuesday 11.59pm, Horizons Regional Council will continue to operate the Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group’s Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) over the weekend and into next week.

Group Controller Craig Grant says with the growing Covid cases and new ones in a neighbouring region, local response continues to be centred around regional coordination and support.

“It is likely a stronger focus on community welfare will be needed as the lockdown continues. We are working closely with our city and district councils, iwi, and other support agencies, to ensure we are prepared to step up any services when required,” says Mr Grant.

“Our ECC staff will continue to operate out of Te Ao Nui in Palmerston North.”

Horizons transport manager Mark Read says passenger transport services will run to their Saturday and Sunday timetables this weekend.

“Buses continue to only be available for essential workers and accessing essential services such as pharmacies and supermarkets.

“As we move between levels and weekdays and weekends, we continue to review our timetables. Passengers should check Horizons’ website for the most up to date information.”

Horizons chief executive Michael McCartney says in addition to the ECC functions, planning for a concurrent emergency event during lockdown has been done and business continuity plans for each Alert Level have been assessed.

“Additionally, we have moved our Regional Council meeting to a virtual channel. A recording will be made available on Horizons’ website within a few days following.

“This is not too unfamiliar for us, unfortunately, however the silver lining is that we’ve learnt a lot since our previous experience and, as a result, have been able to make some changes and strengthen our systems.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is the priority of our staff and our communities’ welfare.”