New Zealand stops all but ‘essential’ construction

By Andy Brown30 March 2020

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An image of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city

New Zealand has entered ‘Alert Level 4’ in its response to the COVID-19 strain of the Coronavirus and has told all but ‘essential’ businesses to shut down.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has though given three criteria for what it considers to be ‘essential’ construction activity.

According to the government’s website this is defined as: Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure; Any entity involved in building and construction required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home or work; Any entity that performs or is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes.

MBIE deputy chief executive, Paul Stocks, said, “COVID-19 alert level 4 is not business as usual and means there will be significant restrictions on what New Zealanders are able to purchase. However, these changes are essential to stop the spread of the virus.

“We are ready to change the list if necessary. If we discover there are essential services that have not been made available we will react to that as we go.”

Construction is continuing in some countries around the world, but not others, as different governments wrestle with the issue of just what is deemed to be ‘essential’ in the current situation.

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