Minister heads south to discuss improvements to civil defence response

Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi will visit Dunedin and Invercargill next week to hear from the regions on how Civil Defence Emergency Management can be improved.

Mr Faafoi will be in Dunedin on Monday 23 April to meet with Otago region mayors, the Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, Otago Regional Council and Te Rununga o Ngai Tahu.

On Tuesday, Mr Faafoi will travel to Invercargill to meet with Southland mayors, Environment Southland, the Southland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and iwi representatives.

“Otago and Southland have both had first-hand experience in dealing with storm events in the past year, and have both provided support to other Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups. So I’m here to listen and learn because I know there is a real depth of experience and commitment in the civil defence sector, and first-hand experience of having managed through an emergency response.”

In January Mr Faafoi released a report into how New Zealand responds to natural disasters and emergencies A technical advisory group (TAG) was formed to provide advice on the most appropriate operational and legislative mechanisms to support effective responses to natural disasters and other emergencies.

Mr Faafoi says he hopes to be in a position to confirm the Government response to the TAG recommendations later this year. “The current system stands up well and has done so throughout the pressures, issues and challenges in recent years. But it is clear more must be done, particularly given the increasing events we have experienced.”

Mr Faafoi says as well as listening to input from the Otago and Southland Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups, he is there to acknowledge the commendable efforts and ongoing dedication of the region in preparing for and responding to a number of challenging emergencies.

“Recent emergencies have prompted the Government to ask how such efforts can be better supported, and I’ll be eager to hear their thoughts on the recommendations of the Ministerial review into disaster and emergency responses.”

The full TAG report and submissions can be found here.