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Hawkins Speech to meeting of Wellington CDEM

George Hawkins Speech to inaugural meeting of Wellington Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

Speech To Inaugural Meeting Of Wellington Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group

Council Chambers, Level 5., Wakefield St, Wellington.

Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.

It's wonderful to be present at Wellington's inaugural Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

CDEM groups are key components in the implementation of the new CDEM Act.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make this group a reality.

The vision of the Act is: 'Resilient New Zealand', or 'strong communities, understanding and managing their hazards'.

Underlying the vision is the desire for New Zealand to be a country that tackles the 'hard', as well as the routine issues.

The aim is to actively improve our resilience over the long term

This calls us to fulfil a number of responsibilities, including:

· Understanding all our hazards and proactively addressing them

Taking the 4 R's approach, namely risk reduction, readiness response and recovery.

I would like to take the time to acknowledge the work already done around readiness and response.

I would also like to encourage equal emphasis on reduction and recovery.

There exists a need to ensure integrated planning and dialogue is maintained across as well as within sectors.

There is also a need to ensure response to events by organisations and individuals is automatic, as well as appropriate.

With these factors in place, ideally co-ordination would be the only thing required to fill in the gaps if a disaster did indeed take place.

So, what are my hopes for the Wellington CDEM group?

It's undeniable that the Wellington region, as the seat of Government, is vital to the smooth running of other parts of New Zealand.

Your lot in life is the important task of ensuring Wellington can respond quickly and efficiently to a disaster.

With that in mind, I look forward to seeing plans identifying the risks, as well as the mitigation strategies, that the region faces.

This knowledge will reassure me that Wellington can rely on its CDEM group, and that everyone else will be able to play their part in responding and recovering should disaster occur here.

Wellington already has a successful track record in this area.

This region was part of the initial pilot for the new Act, and important pointers and lessons were learnt along the way..

Perhaps the most important of these was the need for CDEM groups to work together, with Government, with utilities and other players involved in civil defence and emergency management.

I understand Chief Executives from around the Wellington Region have held meeting to discuss these issues.

That's welcome news and I look forward to hearing the outcome of those discussions..

Once again, congratulations to everyone concerned for being first off the rank and getting this Group up and running, and thank you for inviting me here today.

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