Meetings deferred

Environment Southland will defer some of its scheduled committee meetings during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The decision was made on Wednesday during an ordinary meeting of council held via video chat application, Zoom which was live-streamed on the Environment Southland website.

Environment Southland chief executive Rob Phillips explained to councillors, “in the interim”, scheduled meetings of the strategy and policy, regional services and regulatory committees would be deferred, with the exception of the organisational performance and audit committee (Opac).

All councillors agreed to the recommendation, including the plan to continue to communicate via Zoom for regular workshops and briefings "at least once a week".

Cr Nicol Horrell acknowledged what was being suggested was "reasonably open-ended, considering the unprecedented circumstances".

The council would retain the joint committees of Southland regional transport committee, Southland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, the chief executive’s review sub-committee and the South Port sub-committee.

Items relating to the financial and risk aspects the organisation was facing would continue to be reported to Opac, and all matters requiring decision or policy direction would be reported straight to the council.

Mr Phillips said committee chairmen would continue to be directly involved and operate more as a "portfolio lead".

The council would continue to meet publicly via Zoom on a six-weekly meeting cycle.

Cr Robert Guyton suggested more public meetings be carried out to keep the community informed about the council’s movements.

Mr Phillips said if the lockdown was to go longer than four weeks, options for live-streaming meetings "could be reviewed".

Emergency Management Southland duty controller Angus McKay provided councillors with an update on how the organisation was dealing with the lockdown in Southland.


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