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Extra funding to help NZ prepare for the worst

19 April, 2005

Budget 2005

Extra funding to help NZ prepare for the worst

The Government is to build on heightened awareness of New Zealand's vulnerability to natural and other disasters by providing $21.5 million in extra funding for civil defence in the coming Budget, including money to fund a major public education campaign.

“The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Asia and the recent floods around New Zealand have made people more aware of the potential for disaster, but there is still a worrying complacency about the need to be prepared," said Civil Defence Minister, George Hawkins.

An extra $15.4 million will be spent on increasing Civil Defence's emergency management capability over the next five years.

The new funding will enable the Ministry to continue development of a hazard based civil defence emergency management environment, increase its capacity to engage with local government and community groups and reinforce its capability to manage large scale events.

"The new provisions will enable the Ministry to increase its permanent staffing from 26 to 46 over the next two years and improve its capability to support regions in a crisis and to manage a national level event," said Mr Hawkins.

“Both the February 2004 Flood Review report and the 2004 State Services Commission report identified areas for improving organisational arrangements for civil defence."

In addition the Government will provide $6.1 funding for national public education programmes for the first four years, to increase awareness and preparedness amongst individuals and communities.

“We cannot overstress the need for everyone in New Zealand to understand the likely impact of our hazards on people, homes and livelihoods. By planning for disasters, and taking some simple steps to be prepared, we can reduce their impact," Mr Hawkins said.

“When communities are better prepared, there can be a significant reduction in deaths, injuries and property losses, and in the time taken to recover from disasters."

Mr Hawkins said that the reality is that immediately after a major event the demand on all agencies will be overwhelming and help may not get to everyone as soon as they need it.

"This is when communities are the most vulnerable and why it is important for people to understand the need to take action to be prepared."

ENDS

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