This page provides reference information on the Council’s decisions on vaccine pass requirements and other COVID-19 protection measures during the alert level and red traffic light phases of the COVID-19 response.

This is archived, historic information which is released as background information and does not necessarily reflect COVID-19 response measures currently in place. Please check our main COVID-19 page for information on the Council’s current settings.

Questions on how the Council has determined its settings

Advice from MBIE says that libraries, pools, museums, galleries etc should be open and non-vaccine mandated.

This is advice from MBIE, but councils are able to set their own local rules based on local conditions.

The goal of the Covid-19 Protection Framework is minimisation and protection.

We have decided on our approach, in line with other councils, to offer the highest level of protection, minimising the chances of community spread as much as we can, while offering the best level of access and least disruption for the majority of the community.

What health advice are you using to base your decisions on?

The Council supports the Government’s aim to have New Zealanders vaccinated, and has been guided by evidence from the Ministry of Health that vaccination remains one of the most effective ways to protect people from becoming infected by, and transmitting, COVID-19.

We refer residents to the information at:

https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/

Ministry of Health information on:

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/about-covid-19

For information on COVID-19 vaccines including vaccine effectiveness and protection, visit:

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines

What risk assessments did the Council undertake in setting its vaccination policy and public vaccination pass requirements?

In December 2021 the Council carried out a full risk assessment of all staff roles to identify whether unvaccinated workers would create a health and safety risk, including the likelihood of being exposed whilst performing tasks (other workers, visitors and clients), and the potential consequences of that exposure both to staff and to the public.

The assessment was based on assessment tools published by Worksafe NZ and MBIE.  A copy of the assessment is available here [PDF, 6500 KB]. Note that individual staff names have been redacted from this document under section 7(2)(a) of LGOIMA, to protect the privacy of individual staff.

The Council asked Planit Works Ltd to undertake a high-level review of their risk assessment approach to mandating Covid-19 Vaccination. A copy of that review is available here [PDF, 1001 KB].

In December 2021 the Council carried out a risk assessment of its public facilities, as part of determining its vaccine pass requirements for facilities under the traffic light settings framework. A copy of this protection framework risk assessment is available here [PDF, 390 KB].

A summary of this protection framework risk assessment was also prepared, setting out the risk factors and proposed status of each facility under the Orange traffic light setting. A copy of this summary is available here [PDF, 218 KB].

NOTE: The Council lifted the requirement for vaccine passes at Council facilities on Tuesday 5 April. The Council has made the decision to remove the vaccine pass requirement in light of the different COVID-19 environment from when the passes were introduced, and the Government’s announcement last week of changes to the traffic light settings. See: www.selwyn.govt.nz/news-And-events/news/vaccine-pass-requirement-removed-for-council-facilities

Are all Council staff vaccinated?

At all Council facilities where vaccine passes were introduced on 3 December 2021 we have required all staff working on site to be fully vaccinated or to be in the process of completing full vaccination.

From 26 January 2022 the Council has introduced a Council COVID-19 Vaccination policy [PDF, 971 KB] which requires all staff to be fully vaccinated by 4 March 2022.

NOTE: The Council revoked the COVID-19 vaccination policy for Council staff on Tuesday 5 April. The following FAQs were published for public information during the period when the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) response measures were in place. These do not necessarily reflect response measures currently in place. Please check our main COVID-19 page for information on the Council’s current settings.

Questions on Vaccine Pass requirements

Why did you require vaccine passes at Council facilities? 

Our focus is on the health and safety of the community and our staff, while maintaining our services to residents.

The Council is following the requirements of the Government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) as set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 (under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020).

The goal of the Covid-19 Protection Framework is minimisation and protection.

We have decided, in line with many other councils at the Orange traffic light setting, to offer our community the highest level of protection, minimising the risk of community spread as much as we can, while offering the best level of access for the majority of the community. We have been guided by evidence from the Ministry of Health that vaccination remains one of the most effective ways to protect people from becoming infected by, and transmitting, COVID-19.

The Government has provided guidelines on the use of vaccine pass mandates by businesses and organisations, but councils are required to set their own requirements based on local conditions and assessment of risk.

At some Council facilities, the activities, events or operations undertaken at those sites mean we are legally obliged to require vaccine passes in order to open and operate; these include facilities such as gyms, recreation centres and cafes (eg within libraries), or those where there is a high risk to users such as children, and to staff.

At other facilities we have undertaken an assessment of the potential risks to our community and to our staff. The majority of Council staff are in roles that are at a higher risk of being exposed to, or exposing others to COVID-19. This is due to the nature of the work our staff do where they deal with many customers, including vulnerable people, in different environments.

The use of vaccine passes will offer the best possible protection for staff and customers, and will help to minimise the risk of infection being transmitted between staff and between customers and staff.

I'm unvaccinated, can I get a rates refund for the facilities I can't use now?

The Council is not able to offer rates reductions or rebates on the basis of services or facilities that are not used by an individual ratepayer.

The Council sets, assesses and recovers rates in accordance with the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002.  Rates are used to fund the infrastructure and services the Council provides for the benefit of the entire district. There is no provision for the Council to offer any discount on rates for services that a ratepayer may not use.

In Selwyn all ratepayers contribute to the provision of services and facilities for the whole community, even though not all ratepayers may use all Council facilities and services for a variety of reasons.

With the exception of water supply targeted rates, rates are not set on a ‘user pays’ basis. Targeted rates for recreational and cultural facilities, and other services, are generally set and assessed on each rateable property, so that all ratepayers contribute to the cost of providing and running those services, even though some ratepayers may not use all of these facilities and services for a variety of reasons.

The Council has not withdrawn any services, and is continuing to provide and maintain services and facilities that are available to the whole community. This includes providing alternatives to allow people without a vaccine pass to continue to access all services paid for by rates.

In Selwyn around 95% of our population is fully vaccinated and well over 95% of our population has had at least one dose. If we did not require vaccine passes many of our facilities would have to close or operate under strict limits, which would incur higher costs to all ratepayers and mean that many more people would miss out on services they contribute to.

The Council’s Rates Remission policy does not provide grounds for remission of rates in this circumstance. Rates instalments must therefore be paid in full to avoid penalties or other collection steps being taken.

You can find information about what services and facilities are included in your rates by checking your first instalment rates invoice. More information about rates is available at www.selwyn.govt.nz/rates

This is a private health matter, you have no right to ask me for my vaccination status.

This is an unprecedented public health emergency. As a council it’s our duty to help deliver the public health response, by doing what we can to maximise everyone's chances of staying safe under the new framework.

We’re operating under clear guidance and legal authority from the Government, and it’s Council’s priority to promote healthy and safe community access to our services.

This is discriminatory/a violation of my rights.

The Council has taken account of the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act in setting its vaccine pass requirements.

Section 5 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act allows for times when limiting peoples’ rights and freedoms can be justified, for example by public health measures which respond to the outbreak of a disease posing a serious threat to the health of a population.

The Council considers that any limit placed on an individual's rights as a result of its vaccine pass requirements, is justified.  Our objective is to minimise the health and safety risks posed to staff, vulnerable individuals and the wider community from COVID-19.

We have carried out risk assessments and determined that requiring vaccination is a reasonable mitigating step and a proportionate response to achieve this objective.  The Council's policy is therefore consistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission has a number of resources available on this topic at (www.hrc.co.nz/resources/human-rights-relation-covid-19.

How can I access services if I am unvaccinated?

We're doing all that we practically can to make sure that wherever possible services are available through other means, so that people who do not have a vaccine pass can still access them.

Alternative services currently available include:

Payments and transactions

  • Online payments/direct debit

Customer enquiries

  • Email and telephone contact services

AA services

  • In-person services are available at AA offices in Hornby and Riccarton

Libraries

  • E-books and e-resources available online
  • Click and collect services
  • Online programmes
  • Mobile services through the Edge connector Vehicle

Recreation centres

  • Online classes

This is only an initial list of alternative services currently available. We will be working to introduce additional ways of providing access to services. Please check for the latest information on the relevant facility websites or Facebook pages, or the Council website.

I have a medical condition/health issue that prevents me from getting vaccinated. 

The Ministry of Health advises that in rare medical situations, some people may be able to apply for a temporary medical exemption from being vaccinated against COVID-19. This will allow them to get a domestic vaccination status certificate (My Vaccine Pass).

The Council is only able to accept the official My Vaccine Pass in cases where an exemption has been granted.

For more information on vaccine exemptions visit Ministry of Health website.

Why aren’t you dropping vaccine pass requirements? Other councils have dropped theirs.

(As at 21 March 2022)

Vaccine pass requirements at most Selwyn District Council facilities remain in place at the present time.

We are aware that some councils have adopted different settings, or have recently reviewed their settings. However each council determines its own position on vaccine passes and other measures, based on local needs and conditions, and Government requirements. Many councils New Zealand-wide currently maintain vaccine pass requirements at public facilities.

Our focus is on protecting the health and safety of the community and our staff, while maintaining our services to residents. We continue to be guided by current public health advice. We note that the number of daily reported cases in Selwyn is increasing, and that this is expected to continue for some time. We also note the public health advice that being vaccinated means people are less likely to become severely sick and have to go to hospital if they catch COVID-19. They are also less likely to pass COVID-19 on to other people.

We are continually monitoring the current outbreak, and liaising with other councils in the Canterbury region and more widely. We are also continually reviewing the situation in response to any potential changes to Government mandates and guidelines.

Can I produce a negative test instead?

No, a negative test is not an accepted alternative to a My Vaccine Pass. Vaccinations are widely accepted the best way to keep our community safe and protected from Covid-19.

I'm vaccinated but don't know how to get My Vaccine Pass, what can I do?

You can get your My Vaccine Pass online through My Covid Record, or over the phone or in person at a pharmacy.

Our libraries staff can also help you get your vaccine pass downloaded or laminated.

What if I don't have a smart phone or the app I need for the MyVaccine Pass?

You can print the My Vaccine Pass and bring this with you instead. Our library staff can also print and laminate your pass for you.

Do children have to be vaccinated to visit places with vaccine pass requirements?

No, children under 12 years and three months old do not have to be vaccinated to enter public facilities.

COVID-19 vaccination venues in Selwyn

To find where in Selwyn you can get a COVID-19 vaccination, visit the COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-out in Canterbury and West Coast website.

On the Healthpoint website you can filter those venues that allow walk-ins without any prior bookings.

Questions regarding events

What’s happening to Council events when held at Red setting?

At Red setting any events on Council premises that a have controlled entry can only proceed if vaccine passes are used. A controlled entry means that the attendees have to book, register, get a ticket, pay a fee or in any other way communicate to Council that they plan to attend the event.

Gathering limits are in place up to 100 people based on 1-metre physical distancing.

People under the age of 12 years and 3 months are not required to show proof of vaccination.

Can I go to Council events if I am not vaccinated?

You need to use the My Vaccine Pass to enter controlled entry events as required under the COVID-19 Protection Framework and Orange setting that Selwyn district is currently at.

If you can’t show My Vaccine Pass to event staff, you will not be able to attend the event.

People under the age of 12 years and 3 months are not required to show proof of vaccination.

Questions regarding pools and the Selwyn Aquatic Centre

Are vaccine passes required at pools?

Vaccine passes are required at the Selwyn Aquatic Centre, and the Darfield, Sheffield and Southbridge Pools based on the requirements under the COVID-19 Protection Framework for passes at pools with group fitness and gym activities and the Council's requirement for vaccine passes at all staffed facilities.

Except in the case of a ticketed or booked event - passes are not required for Leeston Pool and Killinchy Pool.

Do I still need to book pool space at Selwyn Aquatic Centre?

No, you no longer need to book lane space at Selwyn Aquatic Centre to swim. With the requirement for a vaccine pass to enter.