Hamilton City Council will provide a relief package of over $3.4 million to the businesses and community groups of Hamilton in response to the outbreak of Covid-19.

At the council's first virtual meeting, the 12 councillors and mayor met by the video meeting application Zoom to decide on how to respond to the evolving Covid 19 outbreak.

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After urgent legislation was passed by the Government on Wednesday night, council was able to meet and form a quorum virtually, rather than physically.

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As part of the emergency relief package, the council approved $1 million Social Service Funding Initiatives for such as the Hamilton night shelter.

The council also signed off on rent relief for community groups and businesses that are
unable to pay rent, due to financial hardship.

This will include community groups, sports clubs, businesses operating from council facilities (such as cafes), and other businesses that can demonstrate hardship.

Councillor Mark Bunting asked his fellow councillors to show compassion for the people of Hamilton who would be struggling financially.

"Having seen the need and desperation within our community groups, I'm imploring this council to be as kind as we can. This is an emergency relief package and this is an emergency," Mr Bunting said.

"We are here for the wellbeing of the Hamilton community."

Councillor Angela O'Leary said the council should be going hard or going home.

"It is important that the public hear this is only phase one of the relief package. I am here for the people," Ms O'Leary said.

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"We're all in this together."

Councillor Ryan Hamilton said he understood the needs of the community.

"My job here as a steward of council in that we might need to go well beyond the need of this funding, but we are only in day two of lockdown, let's take a breathe as we're in this for the long haul."

Mayor Paula Southgate said the relief package will be targeting those most affected.

The Council met for the first time via Zoom.
The Council met for the first time via Zoom.

"We acknowledge that business provide work, equally we have an obligation to the wider community who are very much hurting at this time," Mrs Southgate said.

The council also signed off on the following emergency packages:
• Community welfare package
• Early payment to suppliers
• Consent relief and refunds
• Rent relief
• Rates relief
• Development Contributions relief
• Business Response Centre

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website