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Media Release 19 April 2020 - Keep calling the helpline – it’s working

19 Apr 2020, 1:30 PM

Waikato’s 0800 800 405 welfare helpline has provided assistance to close to 1400 people throughout the region – but there is capability to help more.

The helpline was first established on 31 March in response to the non-health related consequences of COVID-19, and to date, 1,426 requests have been made by people struggling to access goods and services.

For the Western Waikato, which covers Waitomo, Waipa and Otorohanga districts, nearly 100 people have received assistance through the helpline.

Western Waikato Emergency Operating Centre (WWEOC) Controller Andrew Loe says while the statistics seem low for the combined districts, it doesn’t reflect the amount of help that is happening in the background.

“Our welfare team are the unsung heroes in our community,” he says.

“As part of the emergency operating centre, the welfare team works seven days a week to ensure the needs of our communities are met.

“Very early on they worked hard to identify the elderly and vulnerable people in our communities and reached out to them to ensure they would be taken care of.

“But the team not only provides assistance to those who call the 0800 number, they also help in many other ways including direct referrals, coordinating volunteers and managing their ‘buddy system’, supporting foodbanks, organising food parcels, accommodation, medical assistance and much more.”

Mr Loe says there is capability to provide more support and he encourages people to promote the helpline number.

“There may be people who need help but are unaware of the 0800 number. To mitigate this, we have ordered posters and flyers which promote the helpline. These will soon be distributed throughout the Western Waikato to supermarkets, service stations and other essential services operating.

“Help is available if you need it.”

To request assistance, please phone 0800 800 405 between 7am and 7pm.

Other helpline numbers
MSD (WINZ) – 0800 559 009
Mental health - Phone or text 1737
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
Anxiety NZ - 0800 269 4389
Lifeline - 0800 543 354
Alcohol & Drug Helpline - 0800 787 797
Family Violence Helpline - 0800 456 450
Victim Support - 0800 842 846
Women’s Refuge - 0800 733 843
0800 HEY BRO (439 276)
Rural Support - 0800 787 254
LGBTQAI+ Helpline - 0800 688 5463
Asian Family Services - 0800 862 342

Kia mauri tau. Kia ngākau aroha. E noho ki te kāinga. Tiakina te tangata.

Be calm. Be kind. Stay home. Save lives.


Media contact:
Public Information Manager - Western Waikato Emergency Operating Centre
027 382 3218 | [email protected]