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Calls to our community key to understanding COVID-19 impact

More than 1000 calls are being made to businesses and residents throughout the Waikato District to understand the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

The information gathered from the phone calls will help inform how Waikato District Council will support its communities, including businesses, as we move forward.

About 30 Waikato District Council staff are asking people how they are coping and the nature of any economic or social hardship they are facing.

The information received will be crucial in some of the decisions Council makes going forward and may influence the direction or priority of Council’s future work programmes.

 “An increase in crime may be a symptom of this crisis, but we must look at the root cause of that, and as a result of this crisis that could well be job losses,” says Council’s Economic and Community Development Manager Julie Dolan.

“While it is important to address symptoms of the crisis like crime in the usual way, the most important thing is to address the root cause.

“If we continue the example of job losses then the most important thing to address is our role in creating employment opportunities – what part we can play in creating local jobs for local people as quickly as possible.”

As well as looking at the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, Waikato District Council is focusing on its key role of supporting our entire community.

Its staff are working in partnership with iwi, other councils, regional and central government, and a wide range of other organisations as well as with the community themselves to deliver a wide range of services that make the Waikato District the kind of place we all want for generations to come.

“COVID-19 doesn’t change that, but we have to adapt to what this crisis has thrown at us,” says Waikato District Council Chief Executive Gavin Ion.

“We are already working differently in that the vast majority of our staff are working from home.

“We also have at least 50 staff working in various roles in the Civil Defence arena, with a key focus being supporting national and regional initiatives regarding the welfare of people.

“But our most important role as a Council is that we work differently to soften the impact of this crisis on our district as much as possible, while continuing to deliver our essential services in a manner that is safe for both our staff and our communities.

 “So even though our facilities might be closed for now, our staff are working harder than ever in working towards our vision of building liveable, thriving and connected communities.”