Minister in Manawatu Wanganui region to discuss future of New Zealand’s civil defence

Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi says tomorrow’s visit to Palmerston North and the Manawatu Wanganui region is an opportunity to hear how the region deals with the wide range of hazards and emergencies it faces.

Mr Faafoi is meeting with Manawatu-Wanganui Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, iwi, regional mayors, council chairs and senior CDEM officials to learn about how the region currently deals with emergencies, and to seek feedback on how to improve New Zealand’s Civil Defence system.

“The Horizons region has experienced a large number of emergencies in recent years, and faces hazards ranging from floods and storms to earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic activity. I’m really eager to tap into local experience and knowledge as I gather feedback about how we can improve our system to protect New Zealanders from natural disasters and other emergencies.”

In January Mr Faafoi released a report into how New Zealand responds to natural disasters and emergencies, the Ministerial Review - ‘Better Responses to Natural Disasters and other Emergencies in New Zealand’. 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 when we need it, and has done so throughout pressures 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 Manawatu Wanganui CDEM Group, he is there to acknowledge the commendable efforts and ongoing dedication of the region in preparing for, and responding and recovering to a number of challenging emergencies.

“These emergencies have prompted the Government to ask how such efforts can be better supported, and I am interested 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.