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Budget boosts Urban Search and Rescue teams

Budget boosts Urban Search and Rescue teams

Auckland's first Urban Search and Rescue team and a boost for existing Palmerston North and Christchurch USAR teams has been announced in today's Budget.

Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins says $500,000 will establish a USAR team in Auckland and allow the formation of the USAR teams in Palmerston North and Christchurch to be completed.

USAR teams locate and rescue people trapped after the collapse of a building, or those caught in landslide, subsidence, or earthquake.

Two years ago New Zealand had no USAR capability and emergency services were capable of addressing only minor incidents, Mr Hawkins said.

However, over the last two years a Taskforce headed by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the New Zealand Fire Service has developed two USAR teams based in Palmerston North and Christchurch.

"Today's announcement of the establishment of a third team in Auckland is timely and will further significantly improve New Zealand's USAR capability," Mr Hawkins said.

The project brought together central and local government as well as emergency services to establish an integrated multi-agency response.

"As a result, New Zealand now leads the world in developing a fully integrated, multi-agency rescue capability," Mr Hawkins said.

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