Alert Level 4 Information

​The information below refers to Council operations during Alert Level 4. From Tuesday 28 April 2020 New Zealand will move into Alert Level 3 to fight the spread of COVID-19. Read more about Council services during Alert Level 3 HERE. 


Council services

Can I still come into the Council offices?

No. In accordance with the Level 4 Alert put in place by the Government, our service centre is now closed. If you need to contact Council please call us on 07 348 4199 (24/7) or email info@rotorualc.nz and a Customer Advisor will be able to help you.

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What services are still available?

Essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand. This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.

The government has identified a list of essential services – this list may evolve over time.

For Rotorua Lakes Council, our essential services are defined as:

  • Water (Wastewater, Stormwater and Water Supply)
  • Transport and roading ​networks
  • Rubbish and recycling collection
  • Civil Defence

Some staff will be working from home so if you are unsure about a service contact our office on 07 348 4199 and a Customer Advisor will advise if it is available.

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Water services

What happens with the water systems?

Water (Wastewater, Stormwater and Water Supply) will continue without change. If you require assistance with anything in regards to your property please advise at the time of your call or email if anyone at a property is in isolation or at particular risk. Please note that we also ask that people do not flush wet wipes down the toilet, most wet wipes are not degradable and cause problems for the system and environment.

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​Rubbish and Recycling

Will my wheelie bins still get collected?

Yes, put your wheelie bins out on the kerbside on your regular collection day. Assisted collection will also continue.

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I live in an area that doesn't use wheelie bins. What do I do with my rubbish? 

Please contact Rotorua Lakes Council's Customer Centre on 07 348 4199 between 8am and 5pm. A Customer Advisor will provide you with rubbish disposal instructions. ​​

Is the rubbish dump still open?

The Rotorua Landfill and green waste disposal facility is not open to the general public, but will remain open for commercial operators who have existing accounts with Waste Management.

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How can I help the kerbside collection run smoothly for my household and the contractor?

  • Ensure your bin lids are closed for collection and that your glass recycling crate or wheelie bins are not overfull. Overfull bins will not be collected. 
  • Where possible, park your car in the driveway or clear of the path of the rubbish collection truck. 
  • Please do not approach the collection truck operators during collection. 

This will reduce the amount of times that the kerbside collection contractor needs to exit the collection truck.

If you have any questions about the kerbside collection, call 07 3484 199 to speak to one of Councils friendly operators.

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What is happening with recycling?

To stop the spread of COVID-19 recycling sorting facilities are now closed for the duration of the national alert. We would like people though to stay in the good practice of separating recyclables so when the alert is over we can continue our hard gained achievements of waste minimisation - so please continue to put recycling in your yellow lid bin. In the meantime. your yellow bin recycling will be collected as normal but it will be delivered to landfill with general waste until the alert is removed.

If you prefer, you can stockpile recycling at home, and take it to the recycling centre when it reopens. Please clean it thoroughly and store in a dry location.

Please note glass will continue to be recycled as normal. 

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Why can't Council find somewhere to stockpile recycling?

To be able to stockpile recycling Council would need to find a suitable location. It would need to be large enough, covered and secure from the elements to keep the recycling dry. We would also need to ensure the recycling was clean enough to ensure that it would not attract pests. It would also require specialised equipment and extra staff to move the items back into trucks when the Alert Level 4 phase ends.

This would all cost a considerable amount to ratepayers and would take a significant amount of time to organise. It would also require significant labour which would be contrary to the intent of the Alert Level 4 restrictions imposed by the Government.

If residents prefer, they can choose to stockpile their clean recyclable items at home in a dry place – this option means there is no extra cost passed on to the ratepayer.

Parking services

Will there be changes to parking services?

Following the Government’s directive to move into Alert Level 4 in response to COVID-19, Council and iPark have reviewed parking management based on anticipated lower demand. Council is now only responding to parking safety issues.

All parking dispute and infringement processes will be put on hold during the Alert Level 4 phase. Once this phase is over, there will be a two-week period to pay off existing fines and get processes up and running again before parking management becomes fully operational. We’ll keep you posted on these dates.

If you would like to dispute a parking ticket you are welcome to do this through our disputes process once we are back up and running.​

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Animal Control

Will Animal Control services be available?

Animal control officers will be attending urgent jobs only such as attacks or stock wandering on roads. All other jobs will be followed up via phone. Officers that attend urgent jobs will be following strict guidelines such as asking screening questions and avoiding contact with people they deal with.

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Will the pound be open to the public? 

No. The Rotorua Pound is not open to the public. Where possible,dogs currently up for adoption have been put foster care for the next four weeks. Any dogs remaining in the pound will continue to be cared for.

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​Parks and Recreation

Are parks, reserves and playgrounds still open?

Council is following the Government's directive to the public to stay at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Because they are not essential services, all Council carparks, public facilities and playgrounds in parks, reserves, and other recreational areas are now closed. This includes carparks, public facilities and playgrounds in recreational spaces in the lakes and rural areas and in the Tokorangi (Redwoods) Forest and Whakarewarewa Forest.

Read more FAQs from the Government's COVID-19 website HERE​

The New Zealand Park Agencies Managers Group have these key message for the New Zealand public:

"Keep it local and close to home; get out in the park for a walk, bike or run and then go home. Keep your 2m distance. No meetups, korero, or food stops along the way. Remember to tell someone where you are going and take your phone with you. Thoroughly wash hands on returning home".​

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Can I go to the Redwoods or Whakarewarewa forest?

Access to the Redwoods, Whakarewarewa forest and other council reserves is currently open to the public for walking and biking however, all vehicle access points are now closed​. Please enter these spaces either on foot or by bike. Do not drive to these areas. 

Activity that's not necessary, including driving, puts others at risk, including emergency services staff if you have an accident or injure yourself. The last thing we need to do is add pressure on essential services.

We are continuing to monitor public access to the forest with our partners including the land owners. If people choose to consistently ignore the rules that are in place to keep the community safe, will be referred to the Police who have the power to enforce Alert Level 4 restrictions.

What people need to know if they want to use the forest and other reserves:

  • Vehicle access points to the forest are now closed
  • If you want to access the forest for exercise, please do so by foot or bike – do not drive to the forest
  • Do not meet up with others – stay in your bubble
  • Stick to areas where you are able to easily stay 2m from anyone you may come across
  • Be mindful of other users in public spaces 
  • Ride and exercise safely and within your ability
  • Tell someone where you are going and take your mobile phone. Do not put yourself in a situation where you could be injured and require emergency help
More information from www.covid19.govt.nz 

​Can I use playgrounds? 

No, to stop the spread of COVID-19 the Government has directed all playgrounds to be closed during the Alert Level 4 isolation period. Council has taped around playgrounds and placed signage asking people to keep off the equipment. If you see people using these areas ​please rep​ort it to the police online at www.police.govt.nz/105support 

Will reserves be mowed during Alert Level 4? 

The Government has made allowance for certain parks and recreation areas to be mowed and maintained during Alert Level 4. You can read more about those specific areas HERE​. General sports fields and reserves/green spaces will not be mowed during Alert Level 4 as it is not considered an essential service. 

Noise Control 

Who can I call about noise control issues?

Council will respond to urgent matters however, to reduce the spread of COVID-19, staff will try to respond to matters by phone. A response in person will be at the discretion of Noise Control staff but urgent matters may be considered as multiple calls received within an hour about the same residential property.

It is important at this time that people respect their neighbours and consider the noise levels coming from their own properties. Please also take into consideration the safety of staff that are responding to call outs.

​If you need to report a noise control issue please phone 07 348 4199 at the time that it is happening.  

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Public Transport

​Are the buses still running?

Bay Bus travel will be free from Tuesday 24 March until further notice to avoid direct contact between drivers and passengers. Please practise physical distancing while on board – sit in separate rows to other passengers if you can. Bus entry and exit will be by the rear doors where possible. This excludes wheelchair users who require the ramp for boarding.

  • As of Wednesday March 25 all urban buses will run to the weekend service timetable
  • As of Wednesday March 25 Tertiary services are cancelled until further notice
  • As of Thursday March 26 all school services are cancelled until further notice.

Please continue to check www.baybus.co.nz as there may be further changes.

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Help and assistance

Who do I call if I have a request for assistance?

If you need assistance during the Alert Level 4 isolation period you can phone 0800 884 222. This number has been set up by Bay of Plenty DHB to help anyone who is concerned about acessuing essentials such as food, home care needs and accomodation during Alert Level 4.

If you have concerns about Council services phone 07 348 4199 or email info@rotorualc.nz and a friendly Customer Advisor will be able to help you.  

What is happening with people who are homeless?

Council continues to support the Ministry for Social Development and the Ministry for Housing and Development in their work to encourage people to take up the emergency housing options available to them, particularly at this time.

​Emergency housing that allows for self-isolation has now been arranged by the Ministry for Soci​al  Development with a local accommodation provider. 

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Visiting Rotorua 

I am visiting Rotorua and I need help finding accomodation. Who can I call? 

If you require assistance finding somewhere to stay so you can self-isolate while visiting Rotorua we suggest you contact the Rotorua i-SITE on 07 348 5179 (please note the i-Site building is closed so you will need to call). You can also contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help with temporary accommodation. You can register your details by calling 0508 754 163.​

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Is freedom camping still permitted in the District?

New Zealand moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 at 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March.  From then all persons are required to self-isolate for a minimum of four weeks.

Campgrounds are essential services and permitted and encouraged to stay open during Alert Level 4. However, shared facilities must not be used and owners may wish to close these off where possible.

Self-contained vehicles can be used as accommodation by persons that are self-isolating.  Self-contained vehicles have a toilet, water and waste facilities.​​

Those using self-contained vehicles to self-isolate are strongly encouraged to stay at commercial camping sites, if available.  They must remain at the same site for four weeks or until the Alert Level is reduced.   Note that during Alert Level 4, Department of Conserv​ation campsites will be closed, along with many local council-owned freedom camping spots.

Vehicles that are not self-contained must not be used for self-isolation.   Those currently living in vehicles that are not self-contained must find alternative accommodation while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4.  ​

People seeking assistance with finding temporary accommodation for self-isolation should call the Temporary Accommodation Service on 0508 754 163.

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What are the guidelines for accommodation providers?

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has provided these guidelines​ for anyone working in the hospitality sector during COVID-19 Alert Level 4​.

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Governance

Are Council meetings still going ahead?

Not in their current format. On Wednesday 25 March, Council approved the delegation of decision-making to the Chief Executive during the period of the COVID-19 Alert Level 4.

It was explained that while Standing Orders allowed for elected members to meet via audio or audio-visual link, the Local Government Act currently still required a quorum to be physically present and as this would not be possible during the Alert Level 4 period, elected members would not be able to adopt decisions.

Delegating decision-making authority would enable decisions to be made and immediately enacted. Virtual meetings of the elected members would be held to discuss any key decisions that would need to be made during this period to seek their input and endorsement.

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Will key projects continue? 

No. All Council projects, apart from essential services (3 Waters, roading and rubbish and recycling) will be placed on hold for the next four weeks​. Council will follow Government guidelines after the period of four weeks and review any further closures.

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Building consents

What is happening with building consents?

The consents team are working remotely, processing existing consents and taking new consent applications. We will not be accepting physical applications as council will be closed and you are encouraged to remain isolated. As council does not yet have an online lodgement system, we will temporarily accept building consent applications through email.

You can email your building consent application to buildingadmin@rotorualc.nz

File requirements:

  • Files must be in PDF or PDF/A format
  • A minimum of 300 DPI
  • In colour where possible
  • Email is limited to 50MB in size so multiple emails may be required for large applications. (Bundle over trusted file transfer may be possible)

Attach separate files for the following:

  • Application Form 2 and vetting checklist (preferred in WORD format, if possible)
  • Form 2A Memorandum from LBP – Certificate of design work
  • Plans (Architectural plans to be separate from others i.e engineers, truss design)
  • Specifications, Product appraisals, Product manuals, Re-site reports
  • PS1, Engineering calculations, Engineered design
  • Geotech Report
  • Onsite Effluent Treatment Design - Schedule 5
  • Fire Report
  • Certificate for public use application

Emailed applications will continue to be vetted to ensure adequate information has been provided for assessment.

Despite accepting email applications, we are aware there may be unforeseen challenges with lodgement. Covid-19 has pushed everyone into uncharted territory in  a short period of time. Council is unable to guarantee a seamless application process but will do the best with what we have and will make adjustments where required.

We encourage those who are submitting email applications to contact us if you are unsure of the status of your application.

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What is happening with RFI responses?

Our ability to process RFI responses will be severely limited. As we are paper based, many consents awaiting responses to RFI's will be inaccessible by staff. We will only be able to process RFI's if the building consent was lodged via email.

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What is happening with onsite inspections?

Council will not be undertaking any inspections during the isolation period.​

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Resource consents 

Can I still lodge resource consent applications?

The consents team are working remotely, processing existing consents and taking new consent applications.​​Council are not able to accept physical ​applications during the lockdown period. We will temporarily accept planning consent applications through email. All applications can b​e sent through to info@rotorualc.nz

​File requirements:

  • Files must be in PDF or PDF/A format
  • Email is limited to 50MB in size so multiple emails may be required for large applications.

Attach separate files for the following:

  • Application forms and checklists
  • Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE)
  • Individual supporting technical reports
  • Plans (including survey plans)

What are the RMA processing timeframes?

We will be extending (doubling) all resource consenting timeframes during this period pursuant to section 37 of the RMA.

​Is there still a Duty Planning Service?

The Duty Planning service will continue to operate remotely. The Duty Planner contact number is 07 348 4199.

Can I set up pre–application meetings?

There will be no pre-application meetings during the lockdown period. We are still able to assess and provide comments on draft proposals, however this will be limited to email responses only.

What is happening with Resource Consent RFIs?

RFIs will continue to be processed provided that all responses are sent to the processing Planner via​ email.

Will you still be conducting Site visits and site meetings?

Site visits will not be able to continue through the lock down period.

What happens in instance of 224c Applications?

224c applications will not be able to be approved in some situations where a site visit is essential.

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Land Information Memoranda​ (LIM)​

Can I still request a LIM report?

Yes. Customers can order LIMs through the regular channels. Our online ‘eservices’ applications are open and this is the preferred method of application.​​

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Page reviewed: 25 Apr 2020 10:50am