Librarians have been redeployed to check on more than 15,000 older Aucklanders living alone during lockdown, many of whom don't have internet access.

A team of Auckland Council library staff have been making the checks since Tuesday, after being asked to help by the Ministry of Social Development.

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The group of more than 50 have started making phone calls to the over 70s.


"Most live on their own and don't have online access, which increases their isolation," said Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

"Since Tuesday afternoon, around 3700 calls have been made, and we're expecting to increase this to more than 2000 calls a day over the coming week or so."

The librarians ask how people are going and what they might need help with, and can connect them with MSD and Auckland Emergency Management.

The council has also set up a food distribution centre at Spark Arena, where about 5000 food parcels a week are couriered to people in financial hardship, or those unable to get to supermarkets.

Before the coronavirus lockdown, nearly one in three older Kiwis spent their days alone, with Age Concern and other agencies struggling with a record number of requests for help.