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National plan required for Civil Defence

Civil Defence Emergency Management sector must work together on National Plan issues

Local Government New Zealand’s President Basil Morrison says his organisation is committed to working with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management on improving civil defence emergency management planning.

The Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) sector also needs to work collaboratively to determine how best to address any shortcomings in the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan.

Mr Morrison says “The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has committed to an early review of the National Plan in two years time and is willing to work with CDEM Groups and Local Government New Zealand during the next two years to further develop and enhance the National CDEM arrangements.”

“The National Plan, as it stands, is an adequate description of the current understanding and arrangements in place for managing national emergencies but there are some areas for improvement that the review will address. However, this Plan is definitely an improvement on the situation prior to adoption of the CDEM Act in 2002, and is a much better alternative to having no National Plan in place come the 1st of July 2006.

“Workable and robust arrangements can’t be found overnight and any further agreements will take time to work through across the Civil Defence Emergency Management sector and with the Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Management,” said Mr Morrison.

Local Government New Zealand has already provided the Ministry with an outline of what it thinks are the priority tasks for the next two years. We believe the results of that work can be readily fed into updating the Guide to the National Plan during this time.

“There is a strong role for local government to play within the national planning process, as active participants and leaders of CDEM Groups. We see community preparedness and resilience as the backbone of CDEM at any scale and in any type of emergency event.”

The National Plan and accompanying Guide should not be seen as the only process in place for Civil Defence Emergency Management activities, particularly in the areas of planning and reduction.

Government agencies, CDEM groups, local authorities and many non-government organisations have specific processes for hazard reduction and readiness. These include processes such as business continuity planning, hazard registers, risk management policies, Long Term Council Community Plans, District Plans and agency specific plans, for example, standard operating procedures for pre-determined events, including provision for hazard reduction and/or readiness.

“A great deal has been achieved since the new Act was adopted. We are looking ahead to what can be achieved during the next two years that will contribute to a more robust National Plan, with the formal review in two years time,” said Mr Morrison.

Ends

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