09 April 2020

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has settled into a new normal during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4, with technology enabling staff productivity and ensuring governance and democracy can continue.

Chief Executive Fiona McTavish said since the start of Alert Level 4 on average each day more than 300 staff have been logging in and working from home on the essential work required from the Regional Council.

“Our staff are working hard to ensure the Regional Council’s essential services can continue. We’re also virtually facilitating a fully-resourced Civil Defence Group Emergency Coordination Centre (GECC) with the majority of staff carrying out their work from home, and only a small number required to work on site.

“I’ve been completely humbled at how well staff have adjusted and are balancing family and work priorities while getting the job done.”

Technology has also been brought in to ensure Council meetings can continue and decision-making occurs in a transparent manner.

“When Alert Level 4 began our council did not have public live-streaming capability; we’ve now ensured that for future public council meetings members of the public are be able to watch them live via our YouTube account.

“Next week we are hosting a meeting of the Bay of Plenty Mayoral Forum, which will be open to the public via the livestream. We’re pleased to be able to coordinate and facilitate this so that our regional leaders can come together during this time."

Ms McTavish said a key item on the agenda will be discussing the regional recovery.

“The challenges of COVID-19, both today and in the time to come, are of an unprecedented scale; by meeting these challenges as a region we can ensure we are best placed to help our economy and our communities to recover and prosper.

"Significant work is already underway to plan for our region’s economic and social recovery in the short, medium and long term, but we know to be successful, we need a unified approach across national, regional and local authorities, our iwi partners, industry and community groups."

An Extraordinary Meeting of Regional Council is also scheduled to take place on Friday 17 April to discuss finance and rating, recovery response and essentials services and emergency management. Once confirmed full details will be available on our website www.boprc.govt.nz.