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Fix civil defence before getting public involved

John Carter
National Party Civil Defence Spokesman

6 June 2006

Fix civil defence before getting public involved

The Government will have to fix serious organisational problems in the civil defence network before a public awareness campaign will have any chance of working, says National’s Local Government spokesman, John Carter.

He is commenting on today’s announcement by Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker of a $6 million public awareness campaign.

“It’s all very well for the Government to focus on trying to get the public involved, but the first real incident we had – the tsunami that wasn’t – showed how dysfunctional the civil defence system is,” says Mr Carter.

“The system failed spectacularly, and practice runs before that, and since, have proved to be no different.

“There is a serious lack of co-ordination between national headquarters and civil defence at local government level.

“I am also aware that the voluntary network at local government level that is meant to be in place to support civil defence does not exist in most cases and is severely understaffed where it does exist.

“A public awareness publicity campaign will do nothing to correct these fundamental flaws.

“The Government and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management have got to get their own houses in order before they can expect the public to play any part, or have any faith, in the present system.

“To spend $6 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money on a Labour Government face-saving campaign is a farce and a disgrace,” says Mr Carter.

ENDS

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