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Auckland Civil Defence exercise met expectations

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts
Minister of Civil Defence
Minister of Internal Affairs
Minister of Veterans' Affairs

27 April 2006
Media Release
Auckland Civil Defence exercise achieved expected outcomes

Aucklanders should draw confidence from the findings of a recent regional civil defence report, and should ignore alarmist reactions, says Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker.

His comments follow the release of a report on the Auckland Civil Defence exercise in December 2005.

"Some people are complaining that Auckland's Civil Defence and Emergency Management staff are failures — that's not just unfair on the staff; it's just plain wrong about the civil defence system," said Rick Barker.

"I have no argument with the findings of the exercise evaluation report, but I totally reject the criticism that the exercise and the regional civil defence arrangements are a failure,” Mr Barker said.

"The exercise demonstrates a commitment to testing and improving systems: this is a good thing.“

“The purpose of the exercise was to model the new emergency management arrangements for the region, provide participants with their first experience of the new arrangements, and familiarise key players with their roles in a real emergency.

"This is the first time that we have had an Auckland-wide response, in the past individual Territorial Local Authorities have had individual responsibility to deal with a crisis. For the first time, there is coordination across areas, this has never happened before and this new system needs to be tested.

"The exercise was designed to identify problems. We expected to find faults. To expect a new structure and process to run perfectly the first time is unrealistic.

"The important job now, having had the evaluation of the exercise, is to take the appropriate steps to remedy the short-comings identified, and this will be done.

“I applaud the Auckland CDEM Group for running the exercise, identifying the shortcomings in the arrangements and applying the lessons learned. Nobody on their first ski run does the giant slalom perfectly. That’s why we practice," said Mr Barker.


ENDS

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