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COVID-19: Essential Services List

25 Mar 2020


Entities providing essential services
(including their supply chains)


Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

  • Any entity that provides accommodation   services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing
  • Retirement villages


Lead agency: Customs New Zealand

  • Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand   and the Ministry for Primary Industries

Building and construction

Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

  • Any entity involved in building and   construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure
  • Any entity involved in building and   construction required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home   or work
  • Any entity that performs or is involved in   building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes

Courts, tribunals and the justice system

Lead agency: Ministry of Justice

  • Courts of New Zealand, tribunals
  • Critical Crown entities (eg Electoral   Commission)


Lead agency: Ministry of Education

Only at COVID-19 Alert Level 3:

  • Any person employed or contracted as teaching,   nursery and childcare staff, including specialist education professionals and   others who provide support (eg to disabled children)
  • Any person employed by or contracted to  an educational facility
  • Any entity supplying educational facilities or   educational materials (eg printers)

Fast-moving consumer goods

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

  • Any entity involved in the supply, delivery,   distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods   essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people,

Financial services

Lead agencies: Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank of New Zealand

  • Banks, insurers and other financial   institutions, including any entity that contracts or provides services to   them (eg secure money delivery services)
  • Securities registries
  • NZX


Lead agency: Ministry of Health

  • District Health Boards (and all of their   facilities), Pharmac, New Zealand Blood Service, Health Promotion Agency,   Health Quality and Safety Commission
  • Any person employed or contracted as a doctor,   nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists,   kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged care and community workers, and   caregivers more generally
  • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies,   medical laboratories, care facilities (eg rest homes)
  • Any entity providing ambulance services
  • Any entity involved with the deceased/tūpāpaku   (eg funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries)
  • Any entity producing health sector equipment,   medicines and PPE

Local and national government

Lead agencies: Department of Internal Affairs (local government) and State Services Commission (national government)

  • Any entity involved in COVID-19 response, enforcement,   planning or logistics or that has civil defence/emergency management   functions (including any entity that supplies services for these purposes)
  • Key public services

Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing

Lead agency: Ministry for Primary Industries

  • 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)

Public safety and national security

Lead agency: National Emergency Management Agency

  • The Department of Corrections, Fire and   Emergency New Zealand, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, New Zealand   Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service,   Government Communications Security Bureau
  • Courts of New Zealand
  • Any person employed or contracted in a public   safety or national security role


Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

  • ESR, GNS, GeoNet, NIWA, MetService
  • Any entity (including research organisations)   involved in COVID-19 response
  • Any entity (including research organisations)   involved in hazard monitoring and resilience
  • Any entity (including research organisations)   involved in diagnostics for essential services like biosecurity, public   health
  • Laboratories and Physical Containment level 3   (PC3) facilities that could provide essential services and products that   could be used to respond to COVID-19
  • Other significant research facilities   including animal facilities, clinical trials and infrastructure that requires   constant attention (eg samples, collections and storage facilities) that are   important to New Zealand

Social services

Lead agency: Ministry of Social Development/Oranga Tamariki

  • Those entities, including non-government   organisations, that provide  welfare   and social services to meet immediate needs, to be specified jointly by the   Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki

Transport and logistics

Lead agency: Ministry of Transport

  • Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs, New   Zealand Transport Agency, Civil Aviation Authority (including Aviation   Security Service), Maritime New Zealand (including the Rescue Coordination   Centre), Airways NZ, MetService, KiwiRail (including Interislander), and any   entity which is contracted by these entities
  • Any entity that provides, or is contracted to   an entity that provides, logistics services, including New Zealand Post and   courier services
  • Any entity providing, or is contracted by an   entity that provides, transport services to the Ministry of Health, a   District Health Board, a Medical Officer of Health, or a Controller (as   defined in section 4 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002)
  • Any entity which provides services related to   the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure (eg roads,   rail, ports, airports)
  • Any entity which operates or is contracted by   an entity listed in Schedule 1 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management   Act 2002, an aerodrome, a passenger and/or freight aviation service, a   passenger and/or freight shipping service, a road freight service, a rail   freight service, a vehicle recovery service; or a public transport service   (under contract with a Regional Council)
  • Any small passenger service vehicle driver   (who holds the relevant licence)
  • Any entity providing services to keep vehicles   operational for essential work purposes (eg vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre   services)

Utilities and communications, including supply chains

Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Ministry for Culture and Heritage (for broadcasting)

  • 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
  • News (including news production) and broadcast   media
  • Internet service providers
  • Any entity that provides maintenance and   repair services for utilities and communications, including supply chains
  • Any entity supplying services to an essential   workplaces that are required for the safe operation of that workplace (eg   cleaning, security services)

Decisions made by Cabinet, 24 March 2020

  • Dairies can remain open, with a one-in-one-out rule, and cannot sell cooked food.
  • Food delivery is prohibited, except meals-on-wheels and whole food delivery (eg subscription food boxes).
  • Every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation.
  • Liquor stores must close, unless they are within Licensing Trust areas (in which case they can operate with a one-in-one-out rule).
  • Self-service laundries can stay open, with two meter physical distancing to be enforced.
  • Retirement villages are included as an essential service.
  • The Warehouse must close.
  • Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only.
  • The Tiwai Point smelter is exempt from closure.
  • NZ Steel is to shut down in a way that allows for production to recommence easily.
  • Pulp and paper plants are to shut down their non-essential elements in a way that allows for production to recommence easily, and while maintaining essential production.
  • Methanex can remain in production, but at a scale consistent with the stability of gas supply.