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Government backtracks, will allow turf maintenance during Covid-19 lockdown

Kiwi groundskeepers have been given a major boost, with Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announcing that urgent maintenance of turn and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will be allowed under Alert Level 4 of the Covid-19 response.

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Clubs are calling to allow their green keepers to be able to work one day a week. Source: 1 NEWS

New guidelines around maintenance will be released after Easter.

Previously, the upkeep of turf and plants was deemed as a non-essential service amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, despite cries from greenskeepers to return to work.

With bowling greens being comprised of weeds, they require around-the-clock maintenance involving regular mowing and spraying. Some New Zealand golf courses, meanwhile, may never recover if the greens remain neglected, officials warned last week. 

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However, Mr Robertson has backtracked on that ruling, deeming urgent maintenance will now be allowed under Level 4 restrictions.

"The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead after the Easter weekend," the Sport and Recreation Minister said in a release.

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They fear their golf courses may never recover. Source: 1 NEWS

"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.

"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," Mr Robertson said.