Council and key committee meetings will go ahead as usual thanks to urgent changes to the Local Government Act which come into effect last week.

Earlier in the week Parliament passed the Covid-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill which amends the Local Government Act. The changes enable Council meetings via audio or visual link to meet quorum requirements.

Prior to the changes, quorum requirements meant at least seven councillors needed to be physically present in Council chambers for a decision to be passed. Now quorum can be met via virtual presence.

Waipā District Council mayor Jim Mylchreest said the changes would mean Council and key committee meetings could continue as usual.
"This is fantastic news because it means Council can continue to make crucial decisions throughout this crisis," he said.
"The challenges posed by Covid-19 require us to adapt to change, so it's great that we are able to adopt new technology and work in a different way.


"We will be able to run most meetings as previously scheduled and we'll also be running our community board meetings as well."

The Bill also enables Council to post meeting agendas, reports and minutes on the website rather than in physical locations such as libraries.

"We'll also be recording all meetings, with the exception of those that are public excluded, and posting them to our website for public access. This is crucial in order to maintain transparency," said Jim.

An executive committee was established on Wednesday last week prior to the Government's announcement. The committee would have allowed Council to continue making crucial decisions with a quorum requirement of only two.

"We had expected this committee would need to step in and temporarily take over governing powers.

"This will now only be used as a backup option if Council is unable to meet quorum to ensure it always has a way of making key decisions for the community."

A strategic planning and policy committee meeting, scheduled for April 7, will be the first held via video-conferencing app Zoom.

■An agenda will be available on ahead of the meeting.