Council spending constrained by Covid-19

By: Phil Goff

Not in our lifetimes has there been a challenge as significant as the one we face with Covid-19.

Where it has taken hold overseas, it has spread rapidly in a matter of days.

Auckland Council has cancelled major events and worked closely with health authorities to stop or slow the spread of the virus. The event cancellations are disappointing for organisers, performers and everyone looking forward to the events, but our paramount consideration has to be safety.

We will go further as necessary, in a rapidly changing environment – our priority is to keep people safe by slowing the transmission of Covid-19.

Coronavirus has had a dramatic impact on the world economy. It will likely throw the world into recession, and with it New Zealand.

We welcome the government’s recovery package to ease the impact on people and businesses until the pandemic is over. We all hope it will be short rather than long-term, with encouraging news from China where new cases have slowed dramatically.

At Auckland Council, the impact on our revenue and costs will be significant and will put constraints on our spending programme.

The council is planning for a range of scenarios and I am receiving regular updates from health authorities, the government and council officers. Already we have taken steps such as lifting the level of cleaning using hospital-standard chemicals, improving facilities for hand-washing, issuing advice to staff on how to keep safe, developing strategies for social distancing and working from home.

We will, working together, get through the crisis.

If you have health concerns, please visit the government’s new Covid-19 website covid19.govt.nz for up-to-date information and advice. Their top advice for uniting against Covid-19 is: wash and dry your hands regularly, stay home if you’re sick, and look after others. It’s good advice and I encourage everyone to follow it.

The site also has information on how to get financial assistance if you need it, what to do if you need to self-isolate, and all the latest updates.

If you are feeling ill and think you may have been infected with coronavirus, call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

Look after yourselves, and each other.

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