Statement to Parliament that state of national emergency extendedCivil Defence Earthquake Recovery
I wish to make a ministerial statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the extension of the state of national emergency over Christchurch City.
On 23 February, I declared a state of national emergency for Christchurch City under section 66 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002. This was as a result of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Christchurch on 22 February and the continuing aftershocks. It was the first time in New Zealand history that a state of national emergency was declared as a result of a civil defence emergency event.
The declaration meant that, under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act, the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management may control the exercise and performance of functions, duties, and powers of Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups and Group Controllers. It has ensured the maximum possible co-ordination and co-operation between central and local resources, and international assistance.
Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act, a state of emergency expires with the commencement of the seventh day after the date on which it was declared, unless it is further extended or terminated earlier. I have considered it necessary to keep the state of national emergency in place, due to the ongoing co-ordination and resources required responding to this disaster. I therefore extended the duration of the state of national emergency on 1 March 2011, and further extended it on 7 March 2011, under section 71 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act. The extensions have demonstrated the Government’s ongoing commitment to helping people in Canterbury to respond to this event. I will continue monitoring the situation and make further extensions as required.
I would like to pay tribute to the international Urban Search and Rescue parties, including teams from Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. These international teams have worked tirelessly alongside New Zealand teams.
I would also like to acknowledge the Disaster Victim Identification assistance we have received from Australia, Thailand, Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom, Singapore, China, and Korea. Offers of other various types of assistance have also been received from many other countries around the world.
Our thoughts are with the people in Canterbury who have suffered from this disaster, particularly those who have lost loved ones.