Mayor acts on Kaipara emergency
by Paul Campbell
Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith is setting up a task force to focus on the economic support and post lockdown recovery of Kaipara businesses and residents, both in the face of the Covid-19 emergency and the continuing drought.
“We are all in uncertain and challenging times with the current Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone’s doing really well with the emergency health measures and the community lockdown, added to the drought we’ve been in for months,” Dr Smith said.
“Many agencies are doing extraordinary work at this difficult time. The Kaipara Mayor’s Task Force for Economic Support and Recovery will meet a quickly-emerging need across the Kaipara as people start asking hard questions about the future, working closely with Kaipara businesses and residents and the agencies, which can support them.
“The scene for everyone is rapidly changing, sometimes several times a day, and the task force will need to work closely with many partners, be light on its feet, and have its ear to the ground in Kaipara. It will not function as a committee but instead be a dynamic arrangement that’s small, agile and no-cost — but high value to Kaipara people.
“There’s a constant stream of valuable information crossing my desk that will be of interest across Kaipara. I also want to make certain Kaipara people are aware of and can benefit from the stimulus and support tools available to them. We have the tools; let’s use them wisely. This task force will help sharpen our focus here in a Kaipara way.”
Dr Smith said he would be making further announcements as the task force is established.
Council CEO Louise Miller says: “most are able to continue working from home, processing resource and building consents so projects are not held up, responding to phone enquiries or issues, responding to dog attacks and keeping the lines of communication open.”
Full details of KDC lockdown operations and mayoral comment are on pages 12 and 13 of this edition.
Northland Regional Council Chair Penny Smart says: ”in these unprecedented and constantly evolving times, the regional council is doing its utmost to provide Northlanders with what certainty and support it can in the weeks and months ahead.”
The council’s crucial functions continue despite the pandemic, including environmental monitoring deemed critical to ensuring the health and wellbeing of Northland communities, ensuring maritime navigational safety, flood and drought monitoring and management and supporting critical civil defence work.
“A core team of essential Northland Civil Defence staff, jointly funded and supported by the region’s four local authorities, is still working to support our regional response to Covid-19.
“That work includes ensuring support is available to assist our communities in a welfare capacity, for example making sure that there are water and food accessible to our vulnerable people and working regionally and nationally to ensure key infrastructure like telecommunications, electricity, fuel supply, food distribution, etc is maintained and kept running.”
As with many other local authorities, a formal period for public consultation on the regional council’s Annual Plan was drawing to a close just as the nation went into lockdown late last month.
Chair Smart says while the world had changed unexpectedly and rapidly in recent days, councils still had to plan to provide a number of services essential to keeping people and communities healthy and safe. Not just through the level four lockdown but in the tough months to come.