Business Travel Documents

From midnight Tuesday August 31 movement between alert level boundaries will be restricted. There will be Police check points to stop unnecessary travel. Businesses need to provide their staff with proof of eligibility to travel across an Alert Level Boundary, such as the documentation generated by MBIE’s Business Travel Register.

Applications for Business Travel Documents will open at 12pm on Sunday 29 August 2021.

UPDATED 31.08.2021

We appreciate those in the thoroughbred industry are seeking specific, practical information. We have provided this where possible. As employers have health and safety, employment and contractual responsibilities that vary, in some instances we can only provide broad advice. We will continue to refine this advice where we can.

We have learnt from past experience we need to be adaptable and prepared for change. Plan ahead for the breeding season and ensure you allow plenty of time for mares to travel to farms to foal down and or be covered.

We’ve done this before. We know what to do. Our number one priority continues to be looking after our people and horses. Please ensure you follow Ministry of Health guidelines and put extra safety protocols in place to protect our people.

Essential services can continue to operate such as:
• Feed companies
• Veterinary Services
• Farriers for welfare cases only
• Commercial Horse Transport

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) acknowledges that stud farms, agistment properties, training stables and centres where horses are in containment are listed as essential services under animal welfare considerations.

Broadly, your responsibilities are:

  • Ensure you meet your obligations under the HSWA to mitigate health and safety risks and protect workers from them, so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Develop a plan with your employees for likely scenarios in respect to COVID-19 in your workplace.
  • Facilitate, as far as possible, business continuity, thereby ensuring:
    - That the welfare of the horses for which you are responsible is not jeopardised.
    - Ongoing job security for your workforce.

It is important to support each other and circulate accurate information so we prepare and instigate effective plans to manage the situation as best we can.


It is imperative you are familiar with the NZ government  website which is updated regularly at Government Covid 19 

Essential Services

Services essential to maintaining welfare of horses can continue to operate under Alert Level 4, with some restrictions. These services include:

• Feed companies
• Veterinary Services
• Farriers for welfare cases only
• Commercial Horse Transport

Please contact your usual provider for more information about how they will provide their service while the country is in Level 4.


New Zealand has a robust feed supply system with most feeds grown and manufactured in the country. 

However Alert Level 4 does require some planning, don't leave it till the last minute to order or pick up feed as suppliers will be busy ensuring everyone has enough of their usual product.

Please contact your usual supplier to discuss your needs. Those who buy in bulk with already have an idea when and how much food they will need. Stick to social distancing protocols when feed is delivered or doing in-store pick up.

Rural supply stores are also operating under Level 4 and are able to supply essential products via delivery or contactless collection.

Field and feed reps are available to discuss your needs via phone or email.


Vets are an essential service and can continue business as usual but with some obvious changes to facilitate social distancing.

On farm visits are to continue largely as normal but with minimum person to person contact. Please ensure a 2m distance is maintained at all times where possible and that vets have easy access to clean water allowing them to be able to wash hands as required.

Vets are still supplying a full range of Animal Health Products and essential Small Animal Services again with obvious changes aimed at eliminating person to person contact. 

Please phone clinics before arriving to pick up product and use contactless pick up.


As per previous Level 4 lockdown protocol, farriers are only allowed on farm if the service is for an emergency or deemed necessary for horse welfare.

This means farriers are unable to continue with their routine work as much of it can be postponed without compromising animal health.

Please talk to your regular farrier in regards to what this means and refer to the NZ Farriers' Association for guidelines for operating under these restrictions.

If you do have a farrier visit your property please contact trace, employ social distancing measures as much as possible, wear a mask and wash hands regularly.


We are entering one of the busiest times of year for the thoroughbred breeding industry. As such planning is essential. Please talk to your chosen transport company in regards to restrictions around travelling in-foal mares in relation to their due date.

Commercial transport companies are deemed an essential service as a form of freight transport and must be used to transport horses between farms or properties during Alert Level 4 and even Alert Level 3.

Please plan early for mares needing to travel to foal down or be covered and work with your transport company using these steps to eliminate potential spread of COVID-19:

  • Plan trips and book as much in advance as possible.
  • Get estimated times for delivery and pick up from your transport company so you are prepared.
  • Follow instructions from the driver as to their protocol to load/unload horses, wear masks and maintain social distancing at all times.


The Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly transmissible and as such all measures to prevent spread and keep people operating in essential services, such as stud farms, should be taken.

Always have good hygiene practice and consider how you can minimise contact between staff and have them keep the advised distance apart of 2m.

Minimise the number of immediate contacts each staff member has in their day:
  • Can you split your staff into teams and make sure the intermingling of members of each team is reduced?
  • Can you eliminate face-to-face meetings?
  • Identify staff/roles that can work from home
  • Ask employees to avoid congregating in areas around the workplace
  • Staff wear masks
Introduce staff working in a shift system:
  • No overlapping shifts where possible
  • Have clear boundaries of staff movements at the beginning and end of each shift
  • Increase the time separation between shifts
  • Increase the time allowed for cleaning common areas and facilities 

Employers must take seriously and manage the health risks to workers and other people affected in the workplace and treat employees in good faith. Employers should plan ahead and work with workers and unions for likely scenarios of COVID-19. A summary of guidance from Employment NZ is as follows:

  • Responsibilities of employers regarding COVID-19, including not allowing them to work when sick or required to self-isolate.
  • Employers and workers should consider whether working from home on normal pay is practicable.
  • If an employer requires an employee not to come to a workplace, an employee should be paid. This can include paid sick leave (and anticipated sick leave) or paid special leave.
  • If an employee, who is required to self-isolate can’t practicably work from home, then special paid leave should be considered. 

We also recommend that stud farms and agistment properties provide their staff with a letter of employment outlining their travel needs and confirming they are operating in line with government regulations.

A template for this letter can be found here
An example of this letter can be found here


Property owners and managers need to implement strict yet practical requirements for outside entities accessing the property.

No entry for non-essential visitors

All essential visitors to confirm they are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, been in a place of interest related to the current cases of COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone that has symptoms or been in places of interest.

Consider what services might be disrupted and develop a contingency plan.

Limit exposure of outside service providers such as vets, farriers, to internal staff.

If essential suppliers or transport do come to the property, follow protocol agreed upon between the service supplier and farm.

No on farm bloodstock inspections are permitted during Level 4.

Operating in Alert Level 3 and 4

As of 11.59 pm on Tuesday 31 August 2021, Auckland and Northland will remain in Alert Level 4 and the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3. 

The government has indicated that the Level 4 restrictions in Auckland will continue to be in place for another two weeks (at least) and Northland remain at Level 4 until at least Thursday September 2, 11.59pm.
We are encouraging all farms and their support services to make plans for an extended lockdown due to the uncertainty of how long Level 4 or 3 restrictions will last.

It is our understanding that no person will be allowed to cross the border into or out of Auckland if they do not have a travel exemption issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
(MBIE) and each exemption will have a unique identifier for each individual (QR code).

If you are needing to cross the Alert Level border after 11.59pm Tuesday 31 August, you will need to hold approved travel documents issued by MBIE. In line with previous lockdowns there will be a strong Police presence and without these documents you will not be permitted to cross the border.

For more information on travel exemptions or to apply clickHERE

Operating during Level 3

To operate in Alert 3, you need to:

  • Follow the region-specific travel advice for Alert Level 3
  • Make sure you can operate safely before workers return to work and you open for trade (if relevant to your operation)
  • Maintain safe practices on physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning, and moving goods and livestock

Travel Across Boundaries

Travel into or out of a COVID affected region will be limited by an Alert Level Boundary. Travel will only be allowed for specific reasons and within specific parameters with an approved permit. Permits granted at previous lockdowns are no longer valid and you must apply for a new one. 

You must adhere to the conditions under which your exemption was granted and where possible minimise travel. In order to travel across the boundary you will need to have proof that you either fit into a permitted activity or have a specific exemption to travel. 

Information for Employers

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available or need help understanding the information contact your accountant or call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).


Contact Tracing

By now everyone should have downloaded the COVD-19 tracer app or have some form of accurate contact and travel tracing. More information can be found on the government website by clicking here. 

All stud farms should also have QR codes printed and displayed in a prominent position. You can access one here

We understand that there will be concerns about what alert levels will mean for breeders, especially in the breeding season and we will endeavor to keep you as up to date as possible. We are working closely with MPI and other relevant groups to develop action plans so breeders can operate during the breeding season as effectively as possible and in line with any government restrictions.


It is normal to feel stressed or anxious in these situations. The thoroughbred industry is known for being a close-knit industry and now is the time to support each other more than ever. Phone your friends, neighbours and family and ask how they are going. Rather than add to the rising panic of the situation talk about practical solutions and support each other where you can safely.

For support with grief, anxiety,  distress or mental wellbeing, call or text the free ‘Need to talk?’ service 24 hours a day,  7 days a week on 1737 and talk things through with a trained counsellor.

Support can also be found by contacting any of the following:

 Lifeline – 0800 543 354
 Youthline – 0800 376 633
 Samaritans – 0800 726 666
 Visit

If you have any concerns about the welfare of horses please contact Alice Riggins at NZTR on 04 576 6266.

If you have any concerns or advice you would like to share please contact Justine


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