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Covid-19 – disaster management

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand 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 during Covid-19 outbreaks and alert level changes.

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.


Alert levels

The Covid-19 Protection Framework, or traffic light system, is now operating. All of New Zealand is now under the red traffic light.


Daily updates

2022 updates
Wednesday 26 January

Government announcement

Today the Government announced a three-phase approach to Omicron

     1.    ‘Stamp it out’ - slow the start of the outbreak
     2.    Slow the spread of the outbreak
     3.    Minimise the widespread outbreak

You can read the Government's announcement here and find information on the Government's Covid-19 webpage here.

We are aware the announcement raises more questions than answers and we have had a meeting with the Transport Minister today to start getting some of those answers. It is critical that all freight can move freely and we have made that point very clear.

Mask use

The Government made some announcements yesterday about mask use, particularly for workers who have a vaccine mandate. We are waiting for the full guidance on this. Keep checking the Government's Covid-19 website page about wearing a face mask for updates.

Rapid antigen testing

We are aware that the Government is purchasing a lot of rapid antigen tests (RATs) and this may cause issues for businesses that have testing regimes in place. The Ministry of Health updated its RAT page on Tuesday 25 January, adding more suppliers. You can find that here. We are also trying to get clarity on how the Government will prioritise testing.

Tuesday 25 January

Transporting New Zealand has issued this media release calling for more drivers to be on standby if Omicron takes hold.

Sunday 23 January

The Prime Minister today announced that as of 11.59pm tonight, all of New Zealand will move into the red setting of the Covid Protection Framework. You can read her media release here and watch the press conference here

The most up-to-date information will be on the Government's Covid-19 web page here.

The Government will be taking a three-stage approach to the point where New Zealand sees 1000 cases a day, the Prime Minister has said. There is currently no information on this or how long New Zealand will be in the red setting.

Stage one will be stamp it out, with contact tracing and testing, including rapid antigen tests. Stage two will be a transition stage. The third stage will see changes to contact tracing, and further details on the three stages will be released at a later date, according to the Prime Minister.

Transporting New Zealand has concerns about the long isolation period of 14 days announced by the Government, with an additional 10 days for close contacts which could see some households isolating for 24 days or longer. We will continue to discuss the impact of this on the supply chain with the Government.

Economic support
The Government has economic support as follows:

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available to employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work at home during that period.

Thursday 20 January

We know operators are keen to get Rapid Antigen Tests in preparation for Omicron. At the moment the advice on Rapid Antigen Testing is available on the Ministry of Health website and website.

Government update

Today the Prime Minister said Northland will move from the red traffic light to the orange one at 11.59pm tonight, 22 January 2022, while the rest of New Zealand will remain at orange.

When the Government has evidence of Omicron transmitting in the community, it will put the whole country into red within 24 to 48 hours.

You can read what the Prime Minister said here.

Tuesday 11 January

Omicron is creating issues in supply chains around the world, including across the Tasman in Australia. Transporting New Zealand has issued this Advisory regarding preparation for Omicron arriving in New Zealand and what road freight transport businesses need to consider.

2021 updates
Friday 10 December

We would like to clarify some earlier advice on the COVID-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Act 2021 about employers keeing vaccination records.

Clarification of legislation

The above piece of legislation applies to affected workers carrying out specified work. For demonstrative purposes, examples of specified work that you may be familiar with include staff in: managed quarantine and isolation facilities, airport and ports, corrections facilities, education and the health and disability sectors. However, specified work does not include transport operators. 

Notwithstanding the above, we are aware some operators will have clients that are, or will be, requiring that visitors and drivers delivering to their respective sites will require vaccination. In those cases, it would be good business practice for operators to maintain information on worker vaccination status.   

We are also mindful that an operator’s respective risk assessment and risk control plan will be a key determining factor in how they choose to manage their worker vaccination status.  

Friday 3 December

Further to our Advisory yesterday, the Ministry of Transport has released its Covid-19 Protection Framework - Guidance for Transport Operators.

Thursday 2 December

At 11.59pm tonight, New Zealand moves into the Covid-19 Protection Framework, or traffic light system.

Here is an Advisory for operators on the law changes that will come into play.

For operators who have been in and out of Auckland during the lockdown – you can keep up the seven day testing up until 17 January 2022 as follows:

For the period 15 December 2021 until 17 January 2022, people travelling out of Auckland (transit travel through Auckland excluded) must be fully vaccinated (and have evidence of this); OR

  • If they are crossing for work reasons, they must carry evidence of having taken a COVID-19 test within seven days of their travel (but will not be required to have had their test result before they travel); OR
  • A negative COVID-19 test received within 72 hours before crossing the boundary.  

Rapid antigen testing

Rapid antigen testing is now available for businesses, the information is available here. 

Thursday 25 November

Yesterday, the Government passed under urgency the COVID-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Bill. This Bill sets the framework for the Covid Protection Framework (the traffic light system). The Orders that come under this Bill will be what impacts the road freight transport industry and we will issue advice once the appropriate guidance comes to hand on managing vaccination of staff and health and safety measures under the various traffic light levels.

Rapid antigen tests available

Today, Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall announced businesses will be able to directly source approved rapid antigen tests for use within their workforce from 1 December. 

"Rapid antigen tests will also be available to the general public at pharmacies from 15 December, with tests to be administered under the supervision of pharmacy staff. A PCR test will be required to confirm any positive results," Verrall said. 

We will advise as more details come to hand but here is the Minister's media release.

Wednesday 17 November

The Government made a number of announcements today regarding the move to the Covid-19 Protection Framework; removing Auckland's hard road borders on 15 December; and access to and the use of My Vaccine Pass. You can find the relevant information about these announcements in this Advisory.

Tuesday 2 November

Today we issued an Advisory to clarify our position on mandatory vaccination, and provide feedback on road safety and good practice.

Thursday 28 October

There are a lot of questions around vaccination, including mandatory vaccination, and we have issued this Advisory to update the industry with the current information available.

Critical information

For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.

The Government’s Covid-19 webpage is here.

Information for businesses is available here.


Guidance and protocols

WorkSafe previously signed off guidance and protocols developed by Transporting New Zealand, then the RTF, to help businesses. These include Covid-19 workplace protocols for road freight transport. The guidance can be found here.

On 2 December 2021, the Ministry of Transport released its Covid-19 Protection Framework - Guidance for Transport Operators.