A new report released by Minister for Civil Defence Hon Kris Faafoi recommending changes to how emergencies are managed in New Zealand lays a solid foundation for work to improve civil defence systems, Local Government New Zealand says.
Better Responses to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies, the report of the Technical Advisory Group which reviewed our civil defence systems, makes a number of welcome recommendations including ensuring adequate funding for civil defence and emergency management and support for local communities experiencing an emergency.
Local government is a key player in civil defence and emergency management and LGNZ’s members made a significant contribution to the review.
LGNZ President Dave Cull says it is pleasing to hear Minister for Civil Defence Hon Kris Faafoi commit to working with all local government stakeholders on developing a fit-for-purpose system.
“Having the strongest possible system to deal with emergencies is crucial and designing this system needs input from many quarters, including local government,” Mr Cull says.
“Councils play an incredibly important role in civil defence but as the report notes there is room for improvement both nationally and locally. Councils and communities are well placed to use their local skills and knowledge to respond to emergencies, but having the resources and right national support in a timely fashion is necessary as large scale emergencies can quickly become overwhelming, especially for smaller centres.”
Recommendations including the establishment of “fly-in teams” and a national emergency management agency to support communities are welcomed by LGNZ, as are recommendations for professional development and training for staff in emergency management roles.
Mr Cull says the collaborative approach to making improvements is the right direction.
“The risks to communities from natural disasters vary across the country and making sure those who deliver emergency management are involved in planning how to respond makes sense,” Mr Cull says.
“We look forward to working with the Minister and other stakeholders on developing the system we need.”