Nelson City Council COVID-19 and Rates FAQ

Who makes governance decisions related to COVID-19 at Nelson City Council?

Per New Zealand’s Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS) framework, which enables coordinated responses to local, regional and national emergencies, Council established an Incident Management Team (IMT) to deal with any matter relating to COVID-19. IMT works within the advice/direction provided by Central Government, working alongside and in close collaboration with partner groups such as Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) and Civil Defence to support Nelson’s COVID-19 response. IMT is made up of Group Managers, Chief Executive, Mayor, legal counsel, Health and Safety representatives, Emergency Management and additional support staff.

How does IMT make decisions?

Depending on the circumstances, IMT has up to three weekly virtual meetings to review and address how Council can keep its staff, contractors and the public safe and maintain business continuity whilst still providing a high level of service. Decisions are made after rigorous internal risk assessments and in accordance with Central Government direction and guidance, recommendations from the Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit in the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and accredited medical advice from Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH).

Why is Nelson City Council requiring vaccine passes to access certain venues?

In deciding to require a vaccine pass where applicable, Council considered a range of relevant factors including Central Government’s Covid-19 Protection Framework rules, local government and public sector guidance, the need to maintain public access to services, health and safety risk assessment(s), and considerations under both the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act.

Council wants its ratepayers and customers to continue to enjoy Nelson City Council facilities safely. Those facilities that are not requiring vaccination passes for entry have put in place other rigorous controls such as requirements for mask use and physical distancing. Council’s current requirements for entry into its public facilities are constantly under review and may change depending on the COVID-19 situation and other relevant factors. To check the requirements for each Council facility, please visit Our Nelson.  

When will vaccine pass requirements to visit Nelson City Council venues be lifted?

IMT reviews COVID-19-related access requirements to Council venues and facilities regularly. Vaccine pass requirements will be adjusted in line with Central Government’s Covid-19 Protection Framework traffic light setting for Nelson, public health guidance from Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) and the other relevant factors referred to above.

I don’t have a vaccine pass and want my rates to be reduced because I cannot access some Council facilities in person.

The rates we charge have been set to make public facilities available for use generally. Local Government rates are not user charges applied per facility, but more in the form of a tax. Rates recognise the value of providing services for the whole community and are collected to cover the total cost of all services. They apply regardless of actual use of particular services.

While we appreciate that it will be frustrating for some to be unable to access some Council services in person due to their COVID-19 vaccination decision, the costs of keeping these services remain and the rates being collected are needed to cover these costs.

Where possible, other ways to access services have been provided for those not holding a vaccine pass, for example through online resources and Click and Collect bookings.

What will happen if I choose to voluntarily make a “reduction” in my next rates payment?

There is no option under Council’s Rating Resolution for a ratepayer to voluntarily reduce their rates payment. Council’s Rating Resolution states that any rates outstanding after the due date of the rates instalment will attract a 5% late payment penalty charge. Should your rates continue to be in arrears for future instalments, Council may commence recovery action in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002.