What are essential services in New Zealand?


What are essential services in New Zealand?
Are couriers still running? What about your local dairy? MiNDFOOD explains what 'essential services' are in New Zealand. 

With the New Zealand Government’s unprecedented announcement yesterday that the country will go into lockdown from 11.59pm Wednesday, all businesses must close and only essential services will remain open.

What is the list of essential services in New Zealand? Many businesses are currently under negotiation of whether they are considered essential services. Here is the latest information for your FAQs:

Are couriers still running? 

Yes, as well as NZ Post.

Supermarkets will be open, but what about my local dairy?

According to RNZ, dairies will remain open provided they are servicing a small community.

Taxis, rideshare and public transport?

Taxis and rideshare services (e.g, Uber) will still operate. Public transport will only be available for those in essential services or travelling to the supermarket and/or medical facilities.

Will my rubbish and recycling get picked up?

Weekly rubbish pickups will still operate but not all recycling. Check your cities council website for information on this.


This is the latest list of essential services in New Zealand:


  • Accommodation services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing


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

Building and construction

  • Building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure
  • Building and construction required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home or work

Courts, tribunals and the justice system

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

Fast-moving consumer goods

  • 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 – but not takeaway shops

Financial services

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


  • District Health Boards 
  • Pharmac
  • New Zealand Blood Service
  • Health Promotion Agency, Health Quality and Safety Commission
  • Doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists, kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged care and community workers, and caregivers 
  • Hospitals and primary care clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical laboratories
  • Care facilities (eg rest homes)
  • Ambulance services
  • Funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries
  • Producers of health sector equipment, medicines and PPE

Local and 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

  • Packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export
  • Support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
  • 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

  • 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


  • ESR, GNS, GeoNet, NIWA, MetService
  • Any entity involved in COVID-19 response
  • Any entity involved in hazard monitoring and resilience
  • Any entity 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

  • Services (including NGOs) 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

  • Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Transport Agency, Civil Aviation Authority, Maritime New Zealand, Airways NZ, MetService, KiwiRail, and any entity which is contracted by these entities
  • Logistics services, including New Zealand Post and courier services
  • Transport services to the Ministry of Health, a District Health Board, a Medical Officer of Health, or a Controller 
  • Services related to the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure (eg roads, rail, ports, airports)
  • 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 (such as taxis and Uber)
  • Any entity providing services to keep vehicles operational for essential work purposes (eg vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services)

Utilities and communications, including supply chains

  • 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)



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