Covid-19 Tairawhiti response: 2250 food relief packages, cost $1m

4:49 pm on 25 June 2020

More than 2250 food parcels have been distributed to Tairawhiti households as part of the Covid-19 emergency response.

Open food parcel

More than 2250 food parcels were distributed to Tairawhiti households as part of the Covid-19 emergency response (file picture). Photo: RNZ Insight / Sarah Robson

It cost more than $1 million to collate and distribute the supplies, but Gisborne District Council, which oversaw the region's civil defence response to the pandemic, is still waiting to be reimbursed by the government.

Councillors at yesterday's audit and risk committee meeting were told the council had made an initial claim of $955,000 to the National Emergency Management Agency, but it was still waiting for that money to arrive in its bank account.

The council expects to make a claim for a further $200,000 in pandemic-related expenses in 2020/21.

Meanwhile, the committee heard that threats to staff from members of the public remained the council's most frequently reported health and safety hazard.

In the 12 months to May, 94 incidents that involved threats to staff or damage to council property were recorded.

James Baty, the council's internal partnerships director, said threats were predominately directed towards parking wardens and library staff, and some had led to the police being called and the offenders trespassed.

Committee chairman Bruce Robertson said it was an issue for all local authorities, with librarians among the council workers most exposed to threatening behaviour from members of the public.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said in light of the threats, cameras had become critical and the council was looking at basing its City Watch security team in the library.

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