LGNZ welcomes the Government’s response today on delivering better responses to natural disasters and other emergencies, having taken the Technical Advisory Group’s (TAG) recommendations to put safety and wellbeing of New Zealanders at the heart of the emergency management system.
“The majority of emergency preparation and response is delivered at a local level, from first responders to regional coordination, as well as ensuring on-going community preparedness and resilience in the event of an emergency,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
“As part of the TAG, LGNZ have worked to develop local and national recommendations for improved emergency management and we are pleased the Government has adopted many of them to advance stronger, more effective emergency and disaster management across New Zealand.”
The wide range of recommendations include building capability and capacity of emergency management workforce, better public and strategic communications, better understanding of national and local responsibilities and improved information and intelligence systems for decision making.
“Our emergency management workforce do an outstanding job, and the Government have endorsed providing further development opportunities for them, many of who are volunteering or in a part time role as well as an increase in workforce capacity. Professionalising the Controller positions through a development programme is also focus in the area of building the capability of the workforce.”
“The response recognises that mayors should have primary authority to declare states of local emergency, be able to utilise the speed of modern communication to let the public know what is going on and what to do, as well as share strategic information with controllers and decision makers.
Other areas LGNZ is pleased to see agreement on is the recognition of the significant capability that iwi bring to emergency management, the development of rapidly deployable ‘fly-in’ teams, and clarification of responsibilities nationally and locally.
“As a major provider of emergency management it’s important that local government are involved in the work to implement and develop the actions above, and we look forward to working with central government and key stakeholders on them,” concluded Mr Cull.