Jobs and wages at Horowhenua District Council are safe despite the pressures of the outbreak of Covid-19.

As many in private enterprise are forced to lay off staff, or ask employees to take a reduction in wages, it wasn't that easy for councils to apply the same rule of thumb.

HDC Chief Executive David Clapperton said the prospect of an around the table wage cut was legally difficult for all local authorities to negotiate at the drop of a hat.

Under current legislation the Remuneration Authority set remuneration for Mayors and councillors around the country.


While that promoted accountability, in this situation it also created a legal barrier that would need to be addressed at a national level before elected members could consider any changes to their wages, he said.

Clapperton said they were not looking to lay off staff as continuity plans put in place before lockdown meant a large number of essential and support staff could continue to work from home.

"At this stage we are not looking to reduce staff numbers," he said.

Council staff working in facilities or services that were closed during lockdown have remained busy through online services.

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"Where this was not possible staff have been redeployed to support other teams and are using the time to carry out tasks preparatory to reopening," he said.

Clapperton praised the efforts of council staff in their ability to adapt.

"The impact these staff have had on our response should not be underestimated," he said

"As we move through the alert levels, our team of staff will be critical to helping Horowhenua recover."


"We need to have people ready to run our pools and community hubs as soon as we can reopen these facilities and we know many of our community members are really looking forward to visiting these facilities when it is safe to do so.

"Likewise, some teams, such as Infrastructure, will be working hard to catch up on lost time with current projects and ensuring we with our contractors are prepared to return safety to worksites

"While some councils have laid off some casual and contract staff, we have only a few staff with similar contracts. We are continuing to pay casual staff who were on a roster after the lockdown started, and we have not laid off any contract staff."

Clapperton said HDC had investigated the Government Wage Subsidy support package, although to be eligible it had to meet the 30 per cent revenue reduction criteria.

"... at this stage our view is that we are unlikely to meet this criterion," he said.