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Increase in Auckland emergency budget realistic


MEDIA RELEASE
November 10, 2006


Proposed 175% increase in Auckland emergency budget
‘a realistic move’


A 175 per cent increase in the civil defence budget to nearly $1.8 million has been recommended following the recent report into the Auckland region’s ability to deal with a major disaster.

Last year’s regional civil defence budget was $644,000 and an increase of $1,128,900 is sought to raise it to $1,772,900.

The Auckland Regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Group decided at its Friday, 3 November, meeting to approve a programme of work addressing the issues identified in the independent assessment conducted earlier this year of the region’s capacity and capability to respond to a large-scale disaster.

Auckland Regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Group chairman Neil Morrison said the recommended increase in funding, though significant, was a realistic response to the shortcomings identified in the emergency management system.

“The programme recommended here is not a ‘gold plated’ one. Rather it is aimed at meeting clearly identified needs and steadily improving capability across the region on a year by year basis. It is seen as the optimal way forward in terms of balancing effectiveness and affordability,” Mr Morrison said.

“The legislation governing emergency management places the lead responsibility in the Auckland region our group. The people of the region and the Mayoral Forum of the region’s political leaders have all clearly expressed a desire for a professional, adequately resourced and well-coordinated emergency management organisation that can perform effectively when disaster strikes.

“The report we received in September identified that the level of resourcing currently allocated to emergency management operations and activity – both in money and people – is not adequate to meet public levels of expectation. Significantly greater levels of resourcing are required to address this. The provision of these resources needs to commence now and be continued in successive budget cycles.”

The Auckland Regional Council and the seven local authorities in the region will vote on the budget at their respective meetings. Each is being asked to contribute a sum reflecting their population’s percentage of the regional total, with the regional council contributing 35 percent – or $620,515 compared to last year’s $225,400.

If accepted, the regional emergency budget recommended for the two years after next will also be significant, dropping $59,900 to $1,713,000 in the 2008-2009 year and rising $181,000 to $1,894,000 in the 2009 – 2010 year.

A working group was set up following the report to develop a programme addressing the areas identified for improvement. Its recommendations would see an increase in resourcing of the group’s emergency management office to provide a professional staff capability to perform a wider range of work programme tasks.

“The management office is considered to be the fundamental building block in delivering the capability necessary to improve the region’s emergency response capability,” Mr Morrison said.

Recommendations are:
 An increase in staffing for the emergency management office with four additional staff added to the existing one, including provision for a general manager position.
 Resourcing to provide for the operation of a dedicated group emergency operations centre.
 A warning systems review.
 Clarifying CEG (Coordinating Executive Group) and CDEMG (Civil Defence Emergency Management Group) roles, functions and accountabilities.
 Assessment of resource requirements for a regional emergency including logistics framework and plan.
 Guidelines for integrating CDEM arrangements with business continuity planning and crisis management within partner organisations.
 Hazards consequences assessments, based on hazard and risk modelling work undertaken by the Auckland Regional Council.
 Enhanced programmes for professional development and training.
 Improved emergency information management systems.
 Development of a consistent approach to welfare centres, with additional work on improving engagement of national agencies in CDEM welfare planning.
 Establishment of a volunteer strategy and programme.

“The principle cost to the region of emergency management activities in general, and the programme recommended here in particular, is an economic one, being the resources applied to fund an adequate level of civil defence emergency management activity to make an effective contribution to regional wellbeing,” Mr Morrison said.

“While the programme presented represents a quantum increase in resourcing, it is well supported by analysis and responds to a statutory responsibility. The sums for each council, while sizable, are not significant in terms of their overall operating budget quantums.”

ENDS

Contact: Neil Morrison
Chairman
Auckland Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (CDEMG)
Mob: (021) 115 8559

Jim Stephens
Manager
Auckland Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (CDEMG)
Tel: (09) 366 2000 x 8043
Mob: (021) 679 205


TABLES:

2006–10 CDEM Group Budget
FY06/07 FY07/08 FY08/09 FY09/10
Projected Costs $690,000 $1,772,900 $1,713,000 $1,894,000

2007/08 Councils’ Contributions
SHARE OF COSTS
COUNCIL 06/07 FY 07/08 FY %
Auckland Regional Council $225,400 $620,515 35%*
Rodney District Council $26,790 $73,753 6.4%
North Shore City Council $65,720 $180,924 15.7%
Waitakere City Council $60,278 $165.943 14.4%
Auckland City Council $131,021 $360,696 31.3%
Manukau City Council $101,301 $278,877 24.2%
Papakura District Council $15,072 $41,487 3.6%
Franklin District Council $18,418 $50,705 4.4%
TOTAL $644,000 $1,772,900
• 65% balance of CDEMG costs apportioned per-capita across councils

ends

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