All of Auckland’s elected local body representatives must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to attend meetings or work in Council offices or meeting rooms.
The new requirements were announced last week and apply to the Mayor, councillors and local board members. They took effect from December 15, following a consultation and risk assessment process.
Elected members who are not vaccinated or don’t want to disclose their vaccination status must work remotely, including participating in workshops and meetings online during periods where there is a risk of the virus circulating in the community.
The rules apply only to Council offices and meeting spaces, so if an elected member wants to attend a community meeting at another place, they need to meet the vaccination requirements of that venue or the organisers of the meeting.
If they wish to engage with individual members of the public, that remains up to the member and those involved –if they want to meet in a council facility, such as a library, they won’t be granted entry, but they could meet outside, for example.
The guidelines will be reviewed in three months, and as Covid-19 health settings change. They sit alongside the recently adopted Council workforce vaccination policy (HM December 6) and rules for the public entering Council facilities (see below).
Council chief executive Jim Stabback says the option of providing details of regular testing was raised, but the risk assessment supported medical advice that testing should be seen as a monitoring tool, and does not reduce the consequences or risk of infection for the person being tested.
He says allowing elected members to perform their democratic roles, while maintaining their health and safety and that of staff and the public, was a key consideration in the decision.
Vax passes needed
Auckland Council has also confirmed that entry to its facilities – including libraries, art galleries, service centres, holiday parks and community centres – will require vaccination passes when they reopen, until at least January 17. Council says this is an interim approach that will be reviewed as public health advice or settings change. Those without vaccination passes will still be able to access those services, but in a different way – for example, outdoor service provision where possible at libraries, as well as digital and ‘Click-and-Collect’ services.