New Zealand Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants at golf clubs will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions.
In a statement released late on Thursday afternoon before Easter, the Minister made the backflip after pressure from NZ Golf, Sport NZ and possibly the Prime Minister after the media conference today.
“The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead after the Easter Weekend,” Minister Robertson said.
“This includes non-plantation nurseries, stadia turf, and golf and bowling club turf maintenance.
“The criteria and conditions under which this maintenance can go ahead are being urgently developed by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.
“I understand the implications if the maintenance does not occur regularly, including for community organisations, which is why we have moved quickly on these decisions.
“However I ask those wanting to undertake the maintenance to wait until the criteria has been published – we need to ensure there are clear guidelines for the health and safety of the community and turf management workers. There will be clear restrictions on any activity that is allowed,” Minister Robertson said.
“We have been making good progress in our fight against COVID-19, but we are still at Alert Level 4 and we cannot be complacent and risk undoing the excellent progress we have made so far.
“So I reiterate to all those who are wanting to undertake the maintenance – please do not do so until the guidance has been issued. Please stay home this long weekend but you can start to plan and prepare for urgent maintenance to get underway soon,” Grant Robertson said.
MBIE will release the criteria after the Easter Weekend.