28 March 2020

Auckland Council guarantees freight of essential goods to Great Barrier Island

Auckland Council has guaranteed the delivery of essential goods and services to Aotea / Great Barrier Island to ensure residents have access to critical medical supplies, medical testing material, fresh food and essential service workers. Mayor Phil Goff said, “Great Barrier is highly dependent on small aircraft flights and less frequent ferries to access essential products and services. With Alert Level 4 isolation rules restricting almost all travel, commercial operators are unable to provide the services they normally would, putting pressure on supply chains servicing the island. “To ensure the well-being of our Great Barrier Island residents, arrangements were needed quickly to ensure transport services could be maintained at a basic level sufficient to provide the essentials. “Auckland Council, through its Auckland Emergency Management function, will guarantee one flight per day to ensure essential services, products and workers continue to be available to all Great Barrier residents.” The flights will be operated by Barrier Air and will enable the delivery of 1.2 tonnes of goods to be delivered every day. The first delivery has already been completed. Waitematā and Gulf Ward Councillor Pippa Coom said the news would provide real comfort to Aotea/Great Barrier Island residents. “These are extraordinary times and stressful for everyone, but for remote communities there are additional pressures. That’s why the council took urgent steps to confirm this arrangement because it deals quickly with what was a unique and critical concern for the Great Barrier community. I’m really pleased that we can reduce some of the stress on Great Barrier Islanders by guaranteeing the delivery of essentials like medical care and food supplies.” Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham says, "The community of Aotea Great Barrier Island is eternally grateful to Auckland Council for granting them funds out of council's new $22.5 million contingency fun. "The grant will enable Barrier Air to continue to provide vital service to the island.  They hold the contract to carry the island's medical needs bringing in medical supplies, PPE, medical and nursing staff along with pharmaceuticals. On departure they carry all laboratory specimens and COVID-19 swabs. They are also contracted to bring all mail to and from the island. These services are crucial to the island's wellbeing and we thank Mayor Phil Goff, councillors and staff for their support during this difficult time."

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