Regional and district council staff appear safe from redundancies for the time being, with many employees redeployed into Covid-19 response action.

Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive Geoff Williams said council staff were "key income earners" in their families.

"Staffing changes at a time like this is a serious move that would have significant implications, for the staff and their families as well as the wider community.

Rotorua Lakes Council. Photo / File
Rotorua Lakes Council. Photo / File

"Redundancies at this time would see more locals without income and with reduced spending ability that then has ripple effects into our broader economy."

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Williams said nearly 50 staff had been redeployed to the district council's emergency operations centre, which he said provided welfare support as part of the national state of emergency response.

"The organisation is very busy right now and demand for our services won't reduce when we move out of alert level 4.

"We will need to keep providing essential services and will be expected to take a leadership role in the district's recovery.

"As every organisation is doing right now, we will be looking at costs but will continue to be under pressure as an organisation and will be busier, rather than having less to do for our community."

Williams said contracts were "not being cancelled".

"Projects contribute to our economy, delivering value for the community and providing income for companies who employ locals and sub-contract to other local companies.

"To start cancelling or postponing capital works projects at this time would cause further damage to our economy, put more people out of work, and erode what the Government is trying to do to help stand up new projects to boost economic recovery nationally."

Aerial view of Rotorua. Photo / File
Aerial view of Rotorua. Photo / File

A Bay of Plenty Regional Council spokeswoman said no redundancies had yet come as a result of Covid-19.

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Contracted staff had not had their contracts ended, but work on some contracts had gone on hold "in line with government guidelines around essential services".

The regional council did not "currently" expect any redundancies.

"However [the] regional council will continue to respond to our working environment and the direction of our councillors."

Forty-one employees had been redeployed to work at the Bay of Plenty civil defence and emergency management group emergency coordination centre.

That had been "activated" to support the local health response led by the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Boards, the spokeswoman said.

"We are responding quickly to the changing needs and to ensure our other essential services are appropriately resourced too.

"[The] regional council regularly reviews its staffing needs to ensure we are fit for purpose and will continue to do so.

"Our highly skilled and committed staff are used to being agile so that we can focus resources to the activities and essential services that best serve our communities."

The regional council continued to provide civil defence emergency management, sampling and analysis of drinking water, public transport, ensuring maritime navigational safety and incident and pollution response.

It was also maintaining service in biosecurity, controlling lake levels, natural hazard event monitoring and flood protection and land drainage services, as well as monitoring its State of the Environment network.

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