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Civil Defence, Emergency Management Review out

9 November 2004

Civil Defence, Emergency Management Review out

A summary of findings from a review of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management was today released by State Services Minister Trevor Mallard and Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins.

The government requested the review in September 2003. The objectives of the review were to:

- provide as much assurance as possible about the readiness of the community to respond effectively to a civil defence emergency and disaster; - provide information on progress at national and local levels towards implementing the new civil defence and emergency management environment focused on risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery; and
- provide advice on the Ministry’s progress towards meeting its obligations under the Act and review how well equipped the Ministry is to support achievement of the functions of the Act The review was carried out by the State Services Commission and the Department of Internal Affairs, in conjunction with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Other government departments and stakeholders, including the Officials Domestic and External Security Committee, Local Government New Zealand, NZ Police and the Fire Service were also involved.

The review included visits to Kapiti, Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Ruapehu regions to assess the readiness of the community and local authorities to respond effectively to a civil defence disaster.

The review found:
- many aspects of the Ministry work very well and good progress is being made towards implementing the CDEM Act 2002
- good local and regional response capability and processes are in place or developing with the new CDEM Group planning
- there are a number of capability needs in the Ministry.

These needs are:
- review the level of staff turnover
- address stakeholder concerns about the level of operations experience within the Ministry
- increase the ability to sustain effective relationships -increase the communications capacity available to the Ministry - improve policy capability The review also found there is a need to agree on procedures to draw on additional public service resources during major events.

"We welcome the report's review recommendations which will lead to a strengthened civil defence support structure. Work will now be undertaken to address the recommendations," the ministers said. The final report of the review and the relevant cabinet paper is available on www.ssc.govt.nz

Background

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management was established in July 1999 following reviews of emergency services and disaster recovery in New Zealand. Its role is to address hazards and vulnerabilities in communities and to prepare for and manage the impacts of disasters.

The Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is responsible for the administration of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 (the Act) and is the employer of the Director of Civil Defence who heads the Ministry. Under the Act the Director is responsible for advising the Minister of Civil Defence on matters relating to civil defence emergency management.

This is the Final Report on the Review of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. An interim report was completed in June 2004 but it was delayed pending the completion of the Review of the February Flood Event.

The February Flood Event Review has now been received and will be publicly released soon. As a consequence of this delay there is one recommendation in the interim report that was due to be completed prior to the date of the final report.

ENDS

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