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New Civil Defence Groups To Be Formed

New Civil Defence/Emergency Management Groups To Be Formed

Minister of Civil Defence Hon. George Hawkins today told a conference that he wants new Civil Defence and Emergency Management groups formed around the existing regional council boundaries.

George Hawkins was speaking in Wellington to a conference of the country's Civil Defence and Emergency Management officers.

These new groups will be responsible for reducing and managing the risks of potential disasters that communities face from natural and technological hazards.

Individual territorial authorities will still be responsible for managing emergencies when they occur, but within region-wide planning frameworks.

"As well as the traditional civil defence functions of readiness and response, the new groups will also develop critical emergency management concepts of risk reduction and sustainable long term recovery," George Hawkins said.

"We can't stop disasters from happening, but we can limit how much our communities are affected by them as well as reducing the time it takes to recover," he said.

George Hawkins told the conference that it was vital for Civil Defence and Emergency Management professionals to have the right skills and qualifications to do the job properly.

"The new groups will require Civil Defence and Emergency Management officers to have new and specialised skills. I want to see training programmes set up to provide these skills," George Hawkins said.

The new Civil Defence/Emergency Management Bill, which will be placed before Parliament later this year, sets out the new groupings and defines the structure to manage emergencies both on a national and local scale.

This Bill will also place the words Civil Defence back at the forefront of disaster reduction, readiness, response and recovery initiatives.

"The previous National government had abandoned the Civil Defence title. That left the public unnecessarily wondering what had become of this Ministry and who exactly was responsible if and when a disaster struck," George Hawkins said.


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