Irrigation New Zealand

Media Statement – for immediate release

26 March 2020

Essential businesses update

Under our new COVID-19 Alert Status Level 4, police will be stopping people on the roads to ensure they are doing so legitimately and complying with the lockdown rules.
Police have advised that workers in essential businesses should carry evidence of their work. 
All workers (including farm and business owners) should carry at all times when conducting essential business (including going to and from work to home):

  • Identification (e.g. Drivers Licence)
  • A letter from your employer confirming you are conducting essential business work in support of farming and/or animal health.
  • It would be helpful for each worker to carry the day’s job sheet or other documentation showing where they are going and what they will be doing.  Keep it simple, do not write a book.

This advice should also be applied to irrigation scheme workers and essential irrigation service industry workers.
What are essential businesses?
The list of essential businesses was updated on Wednesday evening.  The full list can be found on the COVID-19 website, here:
Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing

  • Any entity involved in the packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export
  • Any entity involved in relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
  • Any entity providing veterinary services
  • Any entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards (including the short-term survival of a species).

Utilities and communications, including supply chains

  • Any entity involved in the production, supply, sale distribution or disposal of electricity, gas, water, waste water (eg sanitation), waste (eg rubbish collection), fuel, telecommunication services, and any entity that is contracted by these entities.

MPI has set up a register to verify businesses are undertaking the necessary processes to stop the spread of COVID-19, it can found here:
Not all businesses must register, however.  Before registering, ask yourself the following questions before registering:

  • Do you have five or fewer people (including the owner) working at each business site?
  • Can you achieve social distancing measures between staff in your workplace, including travelling, to and from work?

If you answer 'yes' to both of those questions, then you do not need to fill in the form.
If you answer 'no' to either of these questions, you must fill in the form.
If in doubt, fill in the form.
The form then requires you to answer a series of questions.  These may be of use to =you in planning your internal processes, even if you do not need to register:

  • How do your production processes protect your workers and the public by reducing the potential spread of COVID-19?
  • How are you ensuring that workers and others at work are observing social distancing to and from work, during work and during rest breaks?
  • What personal hygiene steps have you put in place for workers to reduce the likelihood of virus spread at work?
  • What existing, or additional personal protective equipment could you introduce that would reduce the likelihood of virus spread at work?
  • What steps are you taking to limit access to your workplaces apart from essential workers?
  • How are you isolating staff, or parts of your workplace, so that virus spread would be contained should it occur?
  • What arrangements have you put in place for staff to report any illness and remove themselves from work?
  • What arrangement have you put in place for staff to report any suspected exposure to COVID-19?
  • What actions would you take should a staff member be suspected of or confirmed as having COVID-19?
  • How do you ensure that staff at particular risk of COVID-19 identify themselves and are isolated from work?
  • How will you ensure that your workers observe ‘stay at home’ rules at the conclusion of each working day?
  • I confirm the information supplied in this application is truthful and accurate to the best of my knowledge, and I am authorised to make this application as the operator or a person with legal authority to act on behalf of the operator.

  Please see an example of evidence letter for employers/employees. 

Date of issuance – 26 March 2020
To whom it may concern,

[Employee name] is employed by [Employer name and business name], which is considered an essential service and is permitted to remain operational during the New Zealand Covid-19 Alert Level 4 shutdown.
[Employee name] has agreed they will only travel to and from our place of work, which is located at [Employer/business address/es here]. Their usual hours of work are from [start time] to [finish time].
For any questions regarding their movements for work purposes please contact [Employer name] on [Phone number].
This arrangement has been agreed by both [Employee name] and [Employer name].
Employer signature                                                  Employee signature