Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management has launched a new 0800 number helping Bay of Plenty households meet essential needs during the national rāhui period.

The number is 0800 884 222
The call centre will be open from 7am – 7pm, 7 days a week.

Group Controller, Clinton Naude, said that the phone number was to make sure that no households ‘fell through the cracks’ during the national lockdown.

“There are many services provided nationally and locally and people are making extensive use of these already – Healthline, Lifeline, mental health support, local phone numbers for essential services, business support and so on. This phone number is not a replacement for these resources.

“This 0800 number aims to ensure that household basic needs continue to be met during the national lockdown. We are particularly concerned about people living alone, perhaps in isolated locations or without internet and smartphones. There may be people who are not mobile and have lost their usual support services at this time and are worried about groceries, diesel for their generator, collecting prescription medicines and so on.

“We have seen some extraordinary community cohesiveness in recent days and I hope it continues. That sense of community is certainly filling some gaps and neighbours are looking out for neighbours, iwi authorities are making sure their Kaumātua and vulnerable are looked after, service groups are in touch with their members, volunteer groups are working hard remotely and essential services continue. I encourage everyone to use these vital networks where possible. This 0800 number is one more safety net to make sure no one is left isolated without necessities at this time.

“These are still early days of household isolation and it may be that help isn’t needed right now, but it is a number to put away for if or when it is needed. It is also very new, so we’ll also get a better understanding of the sorts of issues arising and what people’s needs are over the coming days,” Mr Naude said.

The call centre will carry out a needs assessment for each household’s basic needs – food, groceries, heating or other household goods and services. The centre will also be able to provide advice to callers about other government support agencies when appropriate or they may be able to assist directly.