Some questions you've been asking

Questions on vaccine pass requirement

Why do you require vaccine passes at Council facilities? What right do you have to impose a vaccine pass mandate?

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.

Under the Local Government Act 2002 and the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, the Council sets general rates which support services and facilities that benefit the district as a whole, and targeted rates which provide services and facilities for specific purposes and locations.

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.

The Council has not withdrawn any services, and is continuing to provide and maintain services and facilities that are available to the whole community.

In Selwyn over 90% 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.

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 an obligation to look after the health and safety of those using our facilities by limiting the possibility of community spread as much as we can.

Vaccine mandates comply with the Bill of Rights as the overall benefit to the community of vaccination outweighs people’s individual rights.

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission has a significant number of resources on the topic.

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.

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 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 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 v

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

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 13 December 2021 we are consulting with all Council staff on a policy which will require all staff to be fully vaccinated.

Questions regarding events

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

At Orange 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.

There is no limit on gathering numbers where vaccine passes are required.

Some gatherings may continue without vaccine passes at some Council premises, but these will be restricted in numbers to comply with the traffic light requirements.

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 Darfield Pool based on the requirements under the COVID-19 Protection Framework for passes at pools with group fitness and gym activities and on the Council’s risk assessment for learn to swim activities delivered by council staff.

From Friday 17 December this will be extended to include all staffed facilities. This will include Southbridge Pool and Sheffield Pool.

Except in the case of a ticketed or booked event - passes will not be 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, all booking and limits on numbers that were in place under Alert Level 2 are lifted at the Orange setting under the traffic lights.

This may change if we change to Red setting, so keep an eye on our page for updates.

Please note - while the Selwyn Aquatic Centre upgrade is ongoing the leisure and toddler pools are not open for recreational swimming 3-7pm weekdays and before 1pm on weekends due to pool space constraints.