Constituent policy

Covid 19: Thames Coromandel District Council relaxes vaccine policy, unvaccinated workers can attend ‘critical’ meetings

Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie made comparisons to the Holocaust among other bizarre claims during her interview with Tim Beveridge on Thursday morning. Video / Newstalk ZB

Thames-Coromandel District Council has made a last-minute change to its vaccination policy so that unvaccinated staff, contractors and elected members can attend critical council meetings.

The council’s vaccination policy requiring all employers and councilors to be double-hit was introduced on January 17.

But just a week later, the council relaxed the policy to allow unvaccinated workers, including staff, contractors and elected members who provide a negative rapid antigen test result within 72 hours of the time of the meeting, to attend.

A group leader or the general manager should view the meeting as critical.

“Our unvaccinated staff must continue to work remotely, and if required by their group manager to attend a critical meeting, they must provide a negative RAT test,” said TCDC chief executive Rob Williams. .

“Our goal during a time when there is no community transmission yet in our district is to keep all of our staff connected and monitored for their well-being and performance. If we have confirmation of community transmission in our district , then we will ‘review our policy again.”

The council will pay for RAT testing for employees, but contractors and elected members must cover the cost themselves.

Today Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie was forced to chair her first council meeting remotely as she does not have a vaccine pass.

Goudie has previously said she will not receive the Pfizer vaccine and is instead waiting for the Novavax vaccine to become available in New Zealand.

Goudie told the Herald that the meeting this morning went well and she had no problem chairing other meetings from home.

Goudie hadn’t asked for advice on whether monthly board meetings would meet the critical criteria, but said she “wouldn’t imagine it.”

“If I need to go to a council meeting and can get a rapid antigen test then yes, but I don’t know if I can get one. I don’t know what the current situation is.” , she said.

“I was pretty comfortable with it today. It went really well.”

The live-streamed meeting lasted only four minutes, but the council had been in a workshop for two hours before opening it to the public.

Although Goudie can no longer enter council offices, she said she was still able to communicate with voters by phone and on the street.

Board policy requires staff or contractors to have received two doses of the Pfizer or Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine. A third booster injection is not necessary at this stage.

The TCDC is one of the few councils that does not require members of the public to have vaccine passes to enter public facilities, indicating it does not need them until Covid-19 n is not active in the district.

Waikato Regional Council canceled a meeting today where councilors had planned to discuss an exception to its vaccination policy so that elected members could attend official council meetings in the chamber on the condition that they produce two negative test results.

The regional council is making vaccine passes mandatory at all of its sites – except the Hamilton transport hub – from February 1.

The issue can now be discussed at a full board meeting at the end of February.
At least one regional adviser remains unvaccinated and will have to report remotely.