Report on response to natural disasters and emergencies released

Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi has released a report into how New Zealand responds to natural disasters and emergencies and will meet key groups to discuss its recommendations.

 The Ministerial Review - ‘Better Responses to Natural Disasters and other Emergencies in New Zealand’ - was started by the previous Government and Minister Gerry Brownlee last year and had cross-party support. 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 the report from the TAG makes a number of recommendations and these will be carefully considered as he meets with, local authorities, iwi and other groups over the next few months.

 “Further work, specifically around prioritisation, budget and legislative implications, is required in order to decide on and progress recommendations.

 “I’ve already started some discussions and that will step up as people have a chance to look at the report and consider what it has found. It’s critically important to take the appropriate time to get this right and to make sure we have heard back from those involved, including colleagues in the cross-party forum.

 “The current system stands up well when we need it, 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.

 “The overall direction of the report is for a more professional emergency response system that involves stronger implementation of the existing legislative framework – although some new legislation will be needed – with strong national leadership and local collaboration.

 “I’m absolutely committed to making sure we have a fully robust and sustainable system and I know all of those involved in this work share that commitment.  I want to hear their views on the recommendations before finalising the approach to this work.

 “I’d also like to acknowledge the work of the review group, led by Roger Sowry, for their time and efforts to date, and thank all of those who made very thoughtful submissions,” Mr Faafoi says.

The full report and submissions can be found here.

 Notes for editors: 

•           The Technical Advisory Group was set up following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes and the Port Hills fires emergency in February 2017 to review the current response framework. 

 In June 2017, terms of reference were announced for the review.  The TAG was tasked with providing advice and options to the Government on the most appropriate operational and legislative mechanisms to support effective responses to natural disasters and other emergencies in New Zealand.