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Was Pacific Wave successful or not?

John Carter MP
National Party Civil Defence Spokesman

2 October 2006

Was Pacific Wave successful or not?

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter says Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker needs to be asking questions of his department after contradictory statements over Exercise Pacific Wave.

“Mr Barker used the so-called success of this exercise to support his view that all was well in his department, despite the botched handling of the tsunami false alarm days earlier. Given that, new reports today do require his explanation.”

The Dominion Post has obtained official documents relating to Exercise Pacific Wave which say response times may have been lengthened, the public were given ‘mixed messages’, and staff shortages posed an ‘unacceptably high’ risk.

Yet on May 18, Mr Barker’s department issued a statement saying ‘today's exercise shows that New Zealand can be confident that the arrangements in place are robust and our procedures worked well’.

“There seems to be a fundamental disconnect between these two reports, and perhaps Mr Barker might like to clarify.”

Mr Carter says Civil Defence has been dogged by more than its fair share of problems under Mr Barker’s watch.

“Mr Barker absolutely rejected the findings in a damning report on Civil Defence by Chen and Palmer, and he was adamant that the emergency management plan would not be reviewed for another two years.

“No doubt the public of New Zealand should be hoping there are no disasters before then,” says Mr Carter.

ENDS

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