Waste collections in Auckland will continue pretty much as normal, says a senior councillor.

Planning committee chairman Chris Darby said his neighbourhood of Devonport was swamped with recycling bins on the kerbside this morning, but was confident the late morning pick up would be completed by the end of the day.

"There might be some delays but we need to be a little bit forgiving if a bin is not collected.

"There is a risk that there is a pressure on labour on waste collections given what we are facing as a nation," he said, saying waste and recycling collections are considered an essential service.

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A council statement said all kerbside services – rubbish, recycling and food scraps – are continuing as usual at this time.

"Please continue to put your kerbside collections out on your usual days. Other council waste services are being assessed, and we will make sure people are aware of any changes as soon as possible."

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Darby was speaking ahead of an emergency council meeting at noon today.

Mayor Phil Goff will present a proposal to set up a temporary Emergency Committee of the whole of the governing body, to assume the functions and power of all governing body committees during the lockdown period.

There is also a proposal to set up a COVID-19 Contingency Fund of $22.5 million to enable the Chief Executive to commit the council to any urgent expenditure required to respond to the virus or its impacts, with any expenditure to be subsequently reported back at an appropriate opportunity.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Herald
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Herald

Last week, Mayor Phil Goff said coronavirus was likely to cost the council more than $100 million.

Goff said yesterday the focus of the council over coming weeks will firstly be on maintaining essential services, including fresh and wastewater, waste collection and disposal and continuation of a core public transport function for essential workers.

"We will also be examining how staff freed up by deferred council activity can use their skills to help public services under pressure, such as health and people's welfare.

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Auckland Council is continuing waste collections. Photo / File
Auckland Council is continuing waste collections. Photo / File

"Auckland Council staff will continue to work from home,' Goff said.

As of yesterday, 4500 council staff logged in to work from home and this will lift to all but essential workers within 48 hours.

The council moved yesterday to extend closures of its network of facilities. This follows closures last week of its libraries, pools and leisure centres.

Auckland Transport is due to release more details about public transport today.