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Barker more alarming than Civil Defence

John Carter MP
National Party Civil Defence Spokesman

15 June 2006

Barker more alarming than Civil Defence

National’s Civil Defence spokesman, John Carter, says Rick Barker’s comments in select committee show his own performance is just as alarming as that of Civil Defence.

“As Minister of Civil Defence, Mr Barker should have sound knowledge of the structure and performance of his department,” says Mr Carter.

“But he showed in select committee that he hasn’t got a clue. He couldn’t give direct answers to direct questions, and tried to waffle his way through.

“Worse, even his officials were unable to give satisfactory answers to select committee questions. When given a patsy question by the previous minister, George Hawkins, concerning whether the 16 regional groups’ plans had been signed off, the officials didn’t know.

”The fact is, they have. One would have thought the Minister and his officials would know something as simple as that.

“Added to that, the Ministry of Civil Defence is also supposed to monitor the capacity and capability of its 16 regional groups.

“But in select committee, the Minister couldn’t give any details about volunteer and staff numbers at a regional level.

“The alarming thing is that the Minister and his Ministry have no idea of the actual structure and strength of Civil Defence at regional and territorial level.

“While I accept it is not the Minister’s responsibility to provide resources where a civil emergency develops, it is certainly his responsibility to know what resources are available.

“Clearly, it’s more than just his department that’s in a mess. The Minister must educate himself about what’s going on in his portfolio,” says Mr Carter.

Ends

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