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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Council and Auckland Emergency Management initiatives during the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown have included delivering tens of thousands of food and welfare parcels, calling more than 15,000 seniors and supporting thousands of people in managed isolation, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says.

Lockdown support at a glance

  • Distributed 20,000+ food and welfare parcels
  • 30,000+ calls handled through support hotlines
  • Library staff made 15,000 calls to over 70s
  • 300,000+ essential trips taken across Auckland Transport network
  • 112,456 views of Auckland leisure centre’s exercise videos
  • 330,000+ eBooks issued to Aucklanders
  • 330,000 people watched orangutans arriving home to Auckland Zoo
  • 5,430 people assisted with managed isolation
  • 120,000 people read stories on OurAuckland’s dedicated COVID-19 landing page

A range of Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) and council-wide initiatives have helped keep New Zealand’s largest city running during the month-long nationwide lockdown.

Between the 26 March and 27 April, thousands of Aucklanders have been provided a range of support including food parcels, regular access to key information, public transport, improved walkways and cycleways, business support and welfare calls.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff thanked teams across the Auckland Council group and AEM who mobilised to support the emergency response for COVID-19.

“This has been an extraordinary time for Aucklanders, and we’ve seen inspiring examples of how our communities have been helping during such a challenging period. I would like to acknowledge these efforts and those of our council teams,” he says.

“More than 150 council staff were redeployed to assist with the AEM response, with the teams handling more than 30,000 calls to the welfare support and Emergency Management hotlines, and the emergency food distribution centre set up at Spark Arena delivering more than 20,000 food and welfare parcels to people experiencing financial hardship.

“Redeployed library staff have made 15,000 calls to check in on Auckland residents over 70 as part of a multi-agency Ministry of Social Development-led outreach initiative.

“Council staff have also assisted with the managed isolation of more than 5,430 people, including the 3,570 people who arrived in Auckland from overseas between 9 and 27 April, and were required to spend the full 14 days in managed isolation or quarantine,” Phil Goff said.

Mayor Goff said that, despite being physically closed, the council’s libraries and leisure centres also provided important services throughout the lockdown.

“Aucklanders downloaded 330,000 eBooks during the lockdown, and there was a surge in online library memberships, with 2868 people signing up to Auckland Libraries’ digital services,” he said.

“Sixty exercise videos produced by Auckland Council’s leisure centre teams have received 112,456 views.

“And Auckland Zoo has helped people stay connected providing a steady stream of content including live animal webcams. A video of orangutans arriving home was the most popular, reaching over 330,000 people.”

Councillor Alf Filipaina of the Manukau Ward, who chairs the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, said he was proud of the role the council had played in support of Auckland’s communities during the crisis.

“Delivery of our welfare parcels is triaged through a central call centre and those eligible receive parcels via courier to ensure they get the support they need,” he says.

“In addition to the wider community response, AEM has also established Te Pouwhakarae, a Māori-focused team working alongside iwi, hapū, whānau and marae to identify and bridge gaps in the delivery of welfare services.”

“This team provided support to Māori communities, including the delivery of approximately 1,239 kai, hygiene and care parcels to Māori.”

Small-to-medium sized businesses have been provided with a range of advice, access to online tools, including refreshed templates and resources on the AEM’s Work Ready section of the website. As well as a range of webinars and online training, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development has had 1,226 businesses register for support via the Regional Business Partner Network, and issued 769 vouchers for government-funded expert business support totalling $1.4 million.

Around 15,000 essential trips happened each day of the lockdown on average across Auckland Transport’s network, which included trips by essential workers and those travelling to supermarkets or pharmacies.

Auckland Council’s building and consents teams also continued to operate with 1,834 building applications lodged. Likewise, Animal Management was kept busy, handling 2,160 jobs over the month, including dealing with 412 roaming dog call-outs.

AEM Group Controller Kate Crawford says the teams have been working hard throughout the lockdown and continue to do so in Alert Level 3.

“It’s been heartening to see how quickly the teams have been able to respond to the various needs of the communities as they have risen, particularly given the scale and logistics that has been required,” she says.

“We have been able to help thousands of Aucklanders get access to much needed assistance during this time and establish vital connections with some of our most vulnerable people.”