9 Apr 2020

Government relaxes rules around turf maintenance

6:39 pm on 9 April 2020

The government is relaxing the lockdown restrictions on golf courses, bowling greens and sport stadiums to allow the turfs to be maintained.

Chamberlain Park Golf Course.

Photo: Facebook

Before today's announcement, turf maintenance had not been considered an essential service.

The new guidelines - which will come into effect after Easter weekend - come after sporting bodies warned that millions of dollars of damage would be done to the grounds without maintanence.

Nurseries and garden centres will also be allowed to care for their plants.

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson says he understands the implications if such work is not allowed to go ahead.

"However, I ask those wanting to undertake the maintenance to wait until the criteria has been published - we need to ensure there are clear guidelines for the health and safety of the community and turf management workers. There will be clear restrictions on any activity that is allowed," Robertson said.

"We have been making good progress in our fight against COVID-19, but we are still at Alert Level 4 and we cannot be complacent and risk undoing the excellent progress we have made so far."

Robertson says officials are urgently developing the criteria to ensure the health and safety of maintanence workers and the wider community.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment will release the criteria after the Easter Weekend.