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News for January 20, 2022

Northland Authorities Impose Facility Access Restriction for Unvaccinated

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The Northland (New Zealand) local authorities have imposed restrictions on certain facilities for unvaccinated people, a report said.

Unvaccinated Whangarei ratepayers who are barred from public facilities by New Zealand’s new traffic lights COVID-19 Protection Framework should not expect their rates to decrease.

This was the message sent by Whangarei District Council (WDC) as the North began their first official day under the new administration. The two district councils of Northland, namely Kaipara and Kaipara Far North, will restrict facility access for those who have not been fully vaccinated.

In the meantime, Northland Regional Council (NRC) is looking into vaccination requirements for staff working with schools.

Ratepayers had their own decisions regarding being vaccinated and showing vaccination certificates, according to WDC Chief Executive Rob Forlong.

“There is no rates reduction for ratepayers who choose not to be vaccinated and thus face restricted use of council amenities … every effort is being made to ensure those without passes can still access the services they need in compliant ways,” he said.

“Ratepayers can choose to be vaccinated and to present vaccination passes to access the Whangarei central library or Tarewa i-SITE visitor information center, or they may choose not to. Either way, these services at these venues are still being offered – subject to the passes.

“Central government has given all New Zealanders – councils, businesses, government departments, the community – guidelines to follow to help achieve this,” Forlong said.

“Our objective is to keep our community – staff, contractors, and customers – safe by following the rules needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

The unvaccinated public is banned from some ratepayer-funded and maintained facilities across the region, with My Vaccine Passes as the primary means of maintaining the current levels of access.

This includes the WDC’s Forum North headquarters.

“Vaccine Passes are required in Forum North’s event spaces, and event holders must comply with government requirements. The area is cordoned off when not in use,” Forlong said.

“We are following central government guidelines and mandates, and that has meant we have had to change the way we deliver some of our services.”

People who are not vaccinated were also banned by the Far North District Council (FNDC)’s Te Ahu center in Kaitaia as of yesterday.

Access to the Kaipara District Council (KDC)’s Kai Iwi Lakes’ Taharoa Domain campground, one of Northland’s most prominent and fully crowded over the holiday season, is also under the spotlight.

Hannah Gillespie, KDC general manager of people and capability, stated that KDC does not require travelers to present their vaccination passports.

However, this is currently being reviewed under risk assessment for council campgrounds, which is presently being conducted.

Aucklanders are set to be part of the crowds that flock to the iconic campground that draws thousands of people.

” … we are completing a risk assessment underway at the moment. In the meantime, all our (council) campgrounds are operating as per the accommodation red guidelines under the Covid-19 protection framework,” Gillespie said.

WDC has also officially agreed to a new policy requiring only those who have COVID-19 certificates to attend council-run functions in any venue managed and owned by the council.

Ratepayers who are not vaccinated and others are also excluded from the cluster of FNDC services starting in early January.

FNDC Chief Executive Shaun Clarke said vaccination passports would be mandatory at council service centers, libraries, and i-SITE Information centers for visitors starting January 10.

KDC is currently examining what roles might require vaccination. Gillespie explained that KDC had been consulting with staff about possible mandated roles.

Vaccination passes were not mandated at NRC service centers. However, the council ordered the wearing of masks, scanning in, and social distancing.

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