Information from the RTF on COVID-19

Information from the RTF on COVID-19

Please note as at 14 September 2020: 

The RTF is the central point of communication to and from Government and the national media for the road freight transport industry. We keep this page updated daily with information needed by road freight operators.

We are in ongoing discussions with the government officials putting all the measures in place during New Zealand’s response to the Covid-19 virus. 

Monday 14 September

Alert levels remain the same

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today announced:

That’s why, on the advice of the Director-General, Cabinet has decided on a short extension to the current restrictions of Alert Level 2.5 for Auckland, and Level 2 for the rest of the country.

But I do want to signal what the likely next decisions are.

For Auckland, Cabinet will review the current ‘Level 2.5’ settings at our meeting on Monday 21st of September, with a view to increase gathering limits for Auckland if we are in a similar position with containing the cluster. If that change was agreed, this would come into effect on Wednesday 23rd of September.

And for the rest of the country, while we will retain the status quo for now, Cabinet has agreed in principle that at 11.59pm on Monday the 21st September, the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 1.

Her full statement is available here.

Required testing

The Ministry of Transport advises there has been an amendment to the Public Health Response (Required Testing) Order, which comes into force at 11.59pm on 16 September 2020.

The order extends the required testing of higher risk workers to all ports and Christchurch International Airport. The list of higher risk workers required to be tested regularly remains the same as the previous version of the order. Although all ports are included, there is the following exemption:  “An affected person who works at an affected port is not required to undergo testing and medical examination under clause 7 if a ship has not arrived at the affected port from a location outside New Zealand for a period of at least 14 consecutive days.”

The revised order is available here.

Friday 11 September

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Required Testing) Amendment Order 2020 that was instituted from 11.59pm on 6 September 2020 does NOT include truck drivers delivering or collecting cargo going onto the Ports of Auckland and/or Port of Tauranga. It applies to certain higher-risk workers at the ports. Full details are here.

Friday 4 September

Today, the Prime Minister announced no change to the alert levels in New Zealand – Level 2.5 in Auckland and Level 2 for the rest of New Zealand. Cabinet will review this again on Monday 14 September. The earliest possible change would be 11.59pm on Wednesday 16 September, if there was a decision to change alert levels made on Monday 14 September.

Thursday 3 September

RTF wrote this letter to Parliament’s Health Select Committee, which yesterday held its final meeting prior to the House rising for the general election. The letter outlines the road freight transport industry’s concerns about the Government’s recent Cofid-19 response level changes and asked that some consideration be given to the concerns of businesses in the supply chain.

Monday 31 August

The whole of New Zealand is now operating under Alert Level 2. For all information go to the Government’s Covid-19 webpage www.covid19.govt.nz

Friday 28 August

As the Prime Minister has announced, Auckland will move from alert level 3 to 2, at 11.59pm on Sunday 30 August. The rest of New Zealand will remain at Level 2.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises that they and NZ Police will be removing the police-led checkpoints that are currently lcoated south and north of Auckland.

It is anticipated that while checkpoints are being dismantled traffic demand may be high, and therefore the safety of workers at the sites is a priority.

In relation to the checkpoints at Bombay in the south Auckland area, the northbound checkpoint will be dismantled first, due to the complex traffic management at the site.

It is anticipated that the dismantling of traffic management equipment across all checkpoint sites will take approximately five hours.  Waka Kotahi would therefore like to reach out to its freight partners and seek support and assistance during this busy time.

It is asked that the freight industry considers only essential travel on Monday 31 August 2020 between 0001 hours and 0600 hours, and for consideration for over dimensional loads to travel outside of these hours.  Auckland System Management will not be in a position to provide traffic management support to over dimensional loads during this period, due to checkpoint operations.

Waka Kotahi would like to ask all drivers to be mindful of the weather and road conditions during this period, and be responsive to the safety of road workers at checkpoint sites.

Waka Kotahi Journey Managers would like to acknowledge the support they have received from the freight industry throughout the checkpoint operations.

Monday 24 August

Today the Prime Minister announced that Auckland will stay at Alert Level 3 until 11.59pm on 30 August 2020. The rest of the country will remain at Alert Level 2.

Travel in and out of Auckland will remain restricted until 11.59pm on 30 August 2020. After 30 August, at Level 2 in Auckland, the checkpoints will go, and inter-regional travel will be possible.

There will be additional restrictions on gatherings in Auckland under Alert Level 2. Gatherings will continue to be limited to 10 people. Funerals and tangihana will be limited to 50 people, and have to meet other conditions set by the Ministry of Health.

Outside Auckland, gatherings such as church services and social events will continue to be limited to 100 people.

Full information about the announcement is available here.

Information about travelling into, out of, or through Auckland while it is in Level 3 is available here.

Friday 21 August

The Government announced today that eligible businesses can apply for a two-week wage subsidy of up to $1,171.60 per worker  to help cover wages. You can read the media release here.

Applications for the new wage subsidy will be open on the MSD website from 1pm today. To be eligible, a business must have experienced, or is projected to experience, a 40% revenue drop across a 14-day period between 12 August and 10 September when compared to a similar period last year. More information is available here.

Tuesday 18 August

Issues at the road border

We are aware drivers are being stopped and asked for documentation at the Auckland road borders and this is causing considerable delays in them getting to work. We believe this is mainly while they are going to/from work. Trucks are also being caught up in queues while the Police stop everyone in cars.

Advisory

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett issued this Advisory on Auckland road border documentation and port testing.

Media

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett has spoken about the road border issue on  RNZ this morning and you can listen to that here; and on Newshub 6pm news last night and you can view that here.

Monday 17 August

Grant Robertson announced today that workers whose jobs may be affected by the re-emergence of Covid-19 in Auckland will be supported by a new wage subsidy scheme and a simplified leave scheme. You can read the media release here.

Nick Leggett has been active in the media over the weekend and today to try and get answers from Government. His interview with Duncan Garner on the AM show is available here.

Saturday 15 August

RTF CE Nick Leggett has issued this Advisory. We are seeking clarity around port Covid-19 testing.

The interpretation of a Ministry of Health order (Covid-19 Public Health Response (COVID-19 Testing) Order 2020) is causing mayhem at ports for trucking operators, Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Nick Leggett says in a media release. Read the media release here.

On Friday 14 August, RTF CE wrote to the Prime Minister and other relevant Ministers about keeping freight moving during the various Covid-19 alert level changes. You can read that letter here.

Friday 14 August

Announcement from the Government

Tonight, the Prime Minister announced Auckland would remain at Alert Level 3 for a further 12 days, and the rest of New Zealand would remain at Alert Level 2 for that same period of time.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said Cabinet has made an in-principle decision to extend the wage subsidy, and modify the COVID-19 Sick Leave Scheme to make it more accessible. Details will be finalised over the weekend and announced on Monday. You can read the Finance Minister’s press release here.

Information from the Ministry of Transport

Auckland remains at Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2.

Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement a short time ago, a decision has been made that there are no changes to the COVID-19 Alert Levels. The Health Order has been extended until 26 August 2020.

Operators should continue to take all of the same precautions you are presently undertaking as part of your operations. We will continue to update you as soon as we have more information.

For all of the latest Alert Level transport guidance and information on the Ministry of Transport’s webpage: https://www.transport.govt.nz/about/covid-19/.

The official government COVID-19 website remains the primary source of government information on COVID https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19/restrictions/current-alert-level/

Nick Leggett’s blog

Friday 14 August, Nick Leggett has written this blog about transporting goods under the changing Covid-19 alert levels.

Thursday 13 August

We are aware of the long delays at the Auckland check points operated by the New Zealand Police. The RTF is trying to get easy access through these checkpoints for trucks, and we will keep you posted as we progress with this.

For these delays and that advice stands until there are any changes. Drivers should carry a letter from their employer stating they are providing an essential business or service and that they need to travel for this. It is advisable to also carry a business card, or work ID.

Order from the Ministry of Health – All business and services must display the official government QR code for the NZ COVID Tracer App

Yesterday (Wednesday 12 August), the Government issued the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Levels 3 and 2) Order 2020 to manage any further spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

The Order includes a requirement during Alert Levels 2 and 3 for all businesses and services:

  • to display the official government QR code for the NZ COVID Tracer App, and
  • have systems and processes in place to otherwise support contact tracing for people who do not scan in with the NZ COVID Tracer app (such as a pen-and-paper register or a digital sign-in system).

These contact tracing requirements come into force at 11:59pm on 19 August 2020.

For more information on these matters see Nick Leggett’s Advisory here.

Information from the New Zealand Police

Entering and exiting Auckland

From midday (Wednesday 12 August) Police will be operating checkpoints at exit points just inside the regional boundaries, largely based on the Auckland Super City boundaries.

The checkpoints will be similar to the operations conducted ahead of the long weekends during the national Alert Level 3. Police will be stopping vehicles and questioning drivers, but as has been the approach through the COVID-19 response, the Police say their first focus will be on educating people and ensuring they are aware of the new restrictions.

More information is available here.

Guidance and protocols

When we went to Level 3 earlier in the year, WorkSafe signed off guidance and protocols developed by the RTF to help businesses transition to Alert Level 3. These include  Covid-19 workplace protocols for road freight transport, as guidance to businesses moving to Alert Level 3. You may need to refresh your memory on what is required.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its Covid-19 advice, available here.

Advisories and media releases

On Thursday 20 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett wrote this blog about the state of the Government’s preparedness for the Covid-19 resurgence in Auckland.

On Tuesday 18 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett issued this Advisory on Auckland road border documentation and port testing.

On Monday 17 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive issued this Advisory around border issues in Auckland and testing at the Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga.

On Saturday 15 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett put out this media release about the mayhem caused by a rapid order to test truck drivers at Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga.

RTF CE Nick Leggett issued this Advisory.

On Friday 14 August, Nick Leggett has written this blog about transporting goods under the changing Covid-19 alert levels.

On Thursday 13 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett put out this Advisory on Auckland border control and the Government QR code.

On Wednesday 12 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett put out this Advisory on Police control of Auckland roads, including check points at the entry/exits to Auckland.

On Wednesday 12 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett put out this Advisory with the initial advice from the Ministry of Transport.

On Wednesday 12 August, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett issued this media release asking for clarity from the Government about Auckland’s border control for trucking operators.

Law

On Monday 17 August, the Minister of Health Chris Hipkins signed an amdment to the  Covid-19 Public Health Response (Covid-19 Testing) Amendment Order 2020, extending the timeframe of the previous order and introducing a new definition of higher risk workers to be tested. You can view that here.

On Wednesday 12 August, Health Minister Chris Hipkins signed this Covid-19 Public Health Response (Alert Levels 3 and 2) Order 2020 which permits freight to move.

On 13 May the New Zealand Government passed the COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill under urgency. This is to provide the legal framework for managing COVID-19.

Other information

Where to buy PPE

Hand sanitiser and face masks are available here.

Financial information for businesses

All the Government’s up-to-date information about financial support for businesses is available here.

On 17 August,  Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced  that workers whose jobs may be affected by the re-emergence of Covid-19 in Auckland will be supported by a new wage subsidy scheme and a simplified leave scheme. You can read the media release here.

Media

12 August, RTF media release, Covid level moves create supply chain issues

15 August, RTF media release, Mayhem at the ports bewildering

15 August, Stuff, Coronavirus: Havoc for trucking operators under ports’ Covid-19 testing rules

16 August, Newshub, ‘It’s not possible: 12,000 Auckland and Tauranga port workers unlikely to get COVID-19 tests by deadline

17 August, NZ Herald, Covid 19 coronavirus: Auckland and Tauranga port communities caught in mass Covid-19 test order

17 August, AM show,Silly rules’: Truckies to ignore deadline for getting COVID-19 test

17 August, TransportTalk, RTF questions COVID-19 testing of truck drivers

17 August, NewstalkZB, Police add more checkpoints to daily gridlock

17 August, Newshub 6pm news, Chronically-ill Northlander trapped in Auckland due to police checkpoints

18 August, RNZ, Covid-19: Truck drivers complain of hours stuck at Auckland border

18 August, NZ Herald, Covid-19 Coronavirus: Government relaxes Auckland and Tauranga ports blanket testing order

Nick Leggett’s blogs:

Heading down the uncertain Covid-19 road