Waikato regional councillors are holding a special meeting next month to discuss changing the vaccine policy so that unvaccinated elected members can still attend council meetings in person.
Waikato Regional Council will next week join many other organisations and introduce a vaccine policy that requires all staff, volunteers, contractors, consultants and elected members to have a vaccine pass to enter a council worksite under the orange or red traffic light settings.
But an extraordinary meeting is being held so councillors can consider changing the policy to cater for any elected member who is unvaccinated.
The meeting was scheduled for tomorrow, but was cancelled yesterday afternoon due to New Zealand moving to the red traffic light setting. A Waikato Regional Council spokesperson said the discussion could now take place at the council's February 24 meeting.
If councillors agree, elected members could be given special treatment over anybody else entering the building and those councillors who don't show their vaccine passes will still be allowed into the chamber for the meeting providing they provide two negative test results.
The spokesperson said delaying the meeting would also allow for the impacts of Omicron to be better understood before elected members confirm their position on mandatory vaccination.
"For councillors affected by the policy, their ability to participate in governance decision making will be unaffected due to the ability to join all meetings virtually."
The recommendation doesn't seek to include any other events or meetings other than the monthly formal council meeting.
The same exception does not appear to apply to staff members or visitors wishing to attend a council meeting and they would still have to be vaccinated.
In the report to councillors, staff are recommending the elected members either confirm the current policy or make an exemption allowing unvaccinated councillors to enter the council's new Hamilton CBD's reception and chamber areas providing they have undertaken a self-funded PCR test with proof of a negative result and a negative Rapid Antigen Test on the day of the meeting.
Under the red setting, the council's offices remain open and some councillors will still attend meetings in person while others will dial in from home.
Despite moving into its new Ward St headquarters last year, the council is still yet to livestream council meetings. However, an audio recording of the meeting is uploaded on to the council's website after the meeting.
Meanwhile, Thames-Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie, who is not vaccinated, will be chairing council meetings from home with the council's requirement for everyone inside the council buildings to be double-jabbed in force.
Goudie is set to join a meeting on Tuesday virtually from her home while other meeting attendees gather at the council premises.
Goudie told Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan she was "happy" to chair meetings via Zoom.
"Technology has vastly improved as has the technology within council as well. Everybody is using it throughout the country and has been for some time on many, many occasions for all sorts of meetings. I'm okay with that."
Goudie went public in October last year saying she won't be being vaccinated until the Novavax vaccine is used, potentially, in New Zealand.