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Civil Defence Ministry Acting Director Announced

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Civil Defence Ministry Acting Director Announced

The former Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal (Rtd) Bruce Ferguson is to head the Ministry of Civil Defence Emergency Management while applications for the position of Director are considered. The Ministry is part of the Department of Internal Affairs.

The present Director, John Norton, steps down in three weeks after eight years setting up the new Civil Defence framework for New Zealand. More than 40 applications for the position have been received, and the selection process is well underway. A decision is to be made within weeks, and it is expected the new Director will be able to take up the role in within three months.

Air Marshal Ferguson was Chief of Defence Force from 2002 until he retired earlier this year, the culmination of an Air Force and Defence career of 37 years, including 20 years in senior leadership roles.

The Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs, Christopher Blake, says he is delighted Air Marshal Ferguson is available to support the Ministry, which is undergoing a significant change.

“The Ministry is now being restructured to meet its responsibilities to government, the Civil Defence Emergency management sector and the public. New government investment is allowing an increase in civil defence staff numbers by more than 60%. The Ministry and the sector are working under new legislation, and new public education campaigns are getting underway to promote awareness and understanding of the hazards we face and what to do about them.

“As well as very senior experience in strategy, management, operations and logistics, Air Marshal Ferguson has direct experience in managing significant aspects of New Zealand's response to emergencies such as the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. Bruce Ferguson's tested leadership ability will ensure the Ministry remains in good hands and prepared to deal effectively with emergencies while the change continues”.

ENDS

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