Our recovery planning
Unite for recovery
The Kāpiti Coast has done a tremendous job joining New Zealanders in uniting against COVID-19 and our hard work to date means we have transitioned to a new, more safety conscious normal.
COVID-19 remains a dynamic situation where there could be further outbreaks and an escalation in alert levels – but we need to start planning for recovery alongside this.
The Kāpiti Coast District Council played an important role in initial response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Council’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated on 23 March to help Kāpiti locals get through the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that residents most in need had access to food, clothing, and other essential items to keep them healthy, safe and warm. We were able to make sure nearly 200 people got essential supplies during Alert Levels 4 and 3. In addition, lots of work was undertaken by the EOC to prepare in the event the pandemic got much worse locally.
The EOC was formally stood down on 22 May, marking our transition from emergency response into a period of recovery.
Recovery seeks to restore the wellbeing and quality of life of those affected following an emergency. Our goal is not only to restore the wellbeing and quality of life of our community – we want to build back better.
We know that some in our community have been hit hard by the pandemic and we want to ensure that support is still there where it is needed as people get back on their feet. The pandemic emergency has really shone the spotlight on some existing issues in our community. We are wanting to partner with iwi and a variety of organisations to support recovery.
We know that more impacts arising from COVID-19 will become apparent over the coming months and that our recovery could take several years. We want to have a plan to guide our work supporting recovery, as well as ensuring we can be agile and responsive to emerging issues. Over the coming months we ‘ll be working closely with the community to understand the different impacts of COVID-19 on Kapiti and developing further initiatives to support recovery.
We are developing a Recovery Plan that will set a vision for what recovery looks like in the Kāpiti District, along with goals and short, medium and long term actions to reinvigorate our community. While actions identified in the plan will be focused Council initiatives, it will require a strong partnership approach with our community groups, the business sector, iwi, and central and regional government partners. There are some existing areas of work which will be reshaped in light of COVID-19, and there will be new initiatives which will need to be developed.
One current focus is on collecting and evaluating information to better understand the local impacts of COVID-19 and the needs of our community. This will help to ensure we are prioritising the right types of support. The Recovery Plan will link to other strategies and plans where relevant, especially our Economic Development Strategy and Long Term Plan.
Recovery work will range across our activities, from working with community organisations around welfare needs and resilience, to initiatives to encourage local business recovery.
While we have begun developing our Recovery Plan, we have also recognised the need to move quickly in some areas to provide recovery support.
Some initiatives we have already underway are:
- Reviewed the draft Annual Plan for 2020/21 in light of the COVID-19 emergency and its impacts. This entailed a review of our budget, rates, fees and charges.
- Used part of the rates surplus from 2018/19 to reduce the rates increase for 2020/21
- Monitoring the extended impacts of the pandemic on our community
- Actively pursue any assistance central government offers for financing for infrastructure (through Crown Infrastructure Partners for example), or other opportunities to support rebuilding.
- Working with WellingtonNZ to ensure local businesses are accessing business support and advice services.
- Identify specific new initiatives, reprioritise budgets and reshape planned activities to better support recovery or further fund recovery initiatives.
- Council officers have worked in partnership with Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti to repurpose their unspent 2019/20 budget; and $30,000 has been provided to each iwi to help them deliver their COVID-19 pandemic response plans and begin recovery planning.
- Allocated $250,000 to go towards our recovery.
Longer term responses will be developed as we have more information about the specific impacts on our district and can determine the best way Council can help. This will include working with iwi, with business on economic development, and with community organisations on social wellbeing. In addition to considering new initiatives, there is also existing work underway by Council in these areas. Council will be looking at how this may need to change in light of COVID-19 and may repurpose 2020/21 funding to further support the community.
How we respond will also depend on what additional action central government takes. An important part of our response is helping our district’s families, businesses and organisations get the support the Government is offering, and helping people make use of the incentives that Government provides. This applies to Council as well. We will be pursuing opportunities for the district to benefit from central government assistance and investment see Rebuilding together - Central Government support for more information.