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'Defence staff boost will strengthen teams managing isolation facilities'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Waikato’s three Managed Isolation Facilities will receive a boost of 57 New Zealand Defence Force personnel this week in a move welcomed by local community leaders.

The additional staff will mean 74 Defence Force personnel will now be serving in the region supporting its three isolation facilities (at the Ibis, Distinction and Jet Park Hotels), working alongside dedicated security, health, hotel and NZ Police teams.

Waikato-Tainui leaders will be joined tomorrow by local mayors in a powhiri for the new Defence staff at a Hamilton city centre marae.

Waikato-Tainui Executive Chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen says the deployment of more Defence staff into local managed isolation facilities will help protect the Waikato community.

"Kiingi Tuheitia has granted his tautoko and support on that basis. The well-being of all people must be at the forefront of our decision making in the battle against COVID-19. As leaders, we must work with others for the common good.

"Amohia ake te ora o te iwi, ka puta ki te wheiao.

"We have members of our iwi working alongside Defence, health and hotel managers as well as security and Police to deliver great manaakitanga to our returnees in a distinctly Waikato way. Our kaupapa is very clear," she says.

The joint heads of New Zealand’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine, Air Commodore Darryn Webb and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment Deputy Chief Executive Megan Main, will join the Defence group for its Waikato welcome.

The staff boost comes as the region passes the milestone of 1,000 returnees completing their managed isolation in the Waikato facilities opened by the Government in June. 50,000 returnees nationally have been through the 32 facilities across the country.

Air Commodore Webb says all the new Defence staff have received pre-deployment training that covers Personal Protection Equipment use, training in standard operating procedures and guidance on taking care of their own health and wellbeing.

They will be completing duties such as managing movement of returnees within the facilities, conducting roving patrols, providing advice to returnees on Ministry of Health guidelines, escorting agency staff within the facility and assisting with key point security.

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