Auckland Council is to pay contractors in advance so they are ready to restart projects once the lockdown is over.

A council source said the programme will give a lot of hope to a lot of construction workers and firms who have had to down tools on council projects.

The NZ Transport Agency is also paying contractors in advance to make sure the industry faces as little disruption as possible during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said it would provide financial relief through the four-week lockdown to enable suppliers to retain their workforces so they can quickly restart work.

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Apart from essential work, all council projects have stopped, including the Quay St upgrade, Tamaki Drive and Karangahape Rd cycleways and the $1.4 billion Eastern Busway.