Whangārei District Council's looking to set up a $3 million Covid-19 relief package using ratepayers' money.

The council will consider the idea at its monthly meeting on Thursday.

"The impacts of Covid-19 are clearly being felt now and council has already announced various measures to support our community," council staff said in the agenda item for the meeting.

"However, there is now clear evidence that recovery will take place over an extended period, with ongoing adverse effects".

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"While Central Government is taking a lead role in funding and delivering support through a number of its agencies, council can play a role in this as well."

Ratepayers' money and WDC operational funding would be used for the relief package.
The agenda item said setting up the Covid-19 relief package would potentially push WDC into an operating deficit for the coming 2020/2021 financial year.

"However, on balance, and given our responsibility to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future, this would be an acceptable and prudent decision," the agenda item, by Dominic Kula, general manager – strategy and governance and Alan Adcock, general manager corporate/chief financial officer said.

They said council was "somewhat constrained" by the fact any financial support if provided was funded by the same community that would receive the Covid-19 relief support.

"However, we do have the ability to use some operational funding for targeted support; either to supplement government support packages or to fill gaps in their programme," they said.

The comments come in a joint agenda item to go to a WDC full meeting on Thursday. Councillors at the virtual meeting will vote on whether to formally adopt the relief proposal.

The agenda item recommends councillors vote in favour of doing so.

It proposes setting up of a range of relief programmes. Work is underway to establish how the exact form and allocation of the proposal might look.

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