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Quake monitoring network gets funding boost

27 June 2005 Media Statement

Quake monitoring network gets funding boost

The government has increased funding to the GeoNet earthquake and volcano monitoring system from $5 million to $8 million a year.

Announcing the increase, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said it would ensure New Zealand’s hazardous areas were adequately monitored.

GeoNet is run by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences and is funded through the Earthquake Commission.

Dr Cullen said the original $5 million a year budget had produced a “good backbone” of monitoring instruments in New Zealand since the project’s inception in 2001 and had allowed a small team to design and build a data communications and management system.

But the coverage of the network and staffing had been less than complete, affecting scientists’ ability to accurately track possible volcanic unrest, strong earthquakes, and tsunamis generated near New Zealand.

“Last year’s triennial review of GeoNet by a panel of New Zealand and international experts recommended that EQC fully fund the network for the remaining six years of the 10-year contract.

“In addition to extending the network, the extra funding will allow the development of information products that will strengthen emergency management as well as the research needed to better understand and manage geological risks.

“New Zealand is vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity and tsunami. Improved information will ensure a more rapid and effective response to natural disasters as well as a reduction of risk through improved planning. Better and more timely information will also mean the Earthquake Commission can process claims more efficiently,” Dr Cullen said.

“This is very good news for disaster reduction in New Zealand.”

ENDS

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