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Civil defence report should be alarmist

John Carter MP National Party Civil Defence Spokesman

28 April 2006

Civil defence report should be alarmist

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter says Rick Barker should be ashamed of the way he has tried to minimise the risks outlined in a damning report on Auckland's readiness for a major disaster.

"Mr Barker said the report was alarmist. Of course it's alarmist, they are warning of serious threats to life and property. The Labour Government shouldn't be trying to sweep it under the rug."

Mr Carter is commenting on an evaluation of the ability of the region's new Civil Defence Emergency Management Group to cope with a crisis.

It found that the knowledge and resources of the group are not at a satisfactory standard to meet legal requirements.

"Rick Barker needs to treat this far more seriously. He says it was a learning exercise, but how worried should Aucklanders be if the worst happened tomorrow?

"Civil Defence readiness isn't a trial and error exercise, as flood victims in the South Island have discovered this week. If we need help in an emergency then the appropriate government agencies should be ready to provide it. They won't get two chances to get it right."

Mr Carter is calling on Rick Barker to take urgent steps to address the 12 recommendations in the evaluation.

"The Minister shouldn't try to bury this because he's embarrassed by the results. Public safety is far too important."

ENDS

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