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New Centre to improve NZ's disaster-readiness

7 August 2006

New Centre to improve NZ's disaster-readiness

The launch of a new Centre for Disaster Research will put New Zealand at the leading edge of hazards research says Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey.

Established through a partnership between Massey University and GNS Science, the new Centre will be based at Massey's School of Psychology in Wellington.

"New Zealand is vulnerable to natural hazards, so it is essential our research and science community has a strong focus in this area," Steve Maharey said.

"This project brings together leading experts from across a range of disciplines, including geologists, psychologists, planners, risk assessors and economists.

"The work will not only enhance our capacity to predict and respond to natural disasters, it will improve our understanding of their social and economic impact.

"Importantly, there will also be a focus on the psychological impact of natural hazards. This is crucial understanding how people will react to warnings about hazards, their behaviour following a disaster, and the long-term psychological impacts of disasters.

"Research in this area will assist with the development of effective warning systems, education campaigns and strategies for providing relief in a major disaster.

"As well as offering a world-leading research-base, the strong education focus of the Centre will ensure we can train the people who will be involved on the ground.

"This is a great example of a Crown Research Institute and a University collaborating on a major project of benefit to New Zealanders."

Steve Maharey attended the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Massey University and GNS Science at 2pm today at GNS in Lower Hutt today.

The Labour-led government currently invests around $10 million a year on hazard-preparedness research as well as around $28 million a year on underpinning research, such as climate and geological modelling.


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