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New Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan

24 November 2005

Minister announces new Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan

Civil Defence Minister, Rick Barker, heralded the development and approval of the new National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan.

"New Zealand has not faced a major national disaster since the 1931 Napier earthquake, but New Zealand's dynamic physical environment and level of technological development means that we are now exposed to a wide variety of hazards.

"Flooding, earthquakes, fire and other disasters are being exacerbated by our propensity for development. Because of this new level of threat to our communities, work has had to be undertaken to ensure that we have the capacity to deal with these events," said Mr Barker.

The new plan, implemented on 1 July 2006, states, and provides for, the hazards and risks to be managed at the national level and the civil defence emergency management arrangements necessary to meet these hazards and risks. The plan also provides support to the management of local emergencies.

Mr Barker has expects a stocktake on available resources to be included in the review of the plan expected in two years, this stocktake will help identify critical resource gaps.

Mr Barker also expects the Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination to prepare a report to Cabinet early in 2006 on the feasibility of mounting appropriate disaster preparedness exercises for Wellington and Auckland.

A guide that is being developed, to deal with nation civil defence emergencies, will accompany the plan. Other emergencies, such as pandemic or bio-security events, are dealt with by their respective lead agencies under those agencies' own plans. However, aspects of such emergencies, such as evacuations, will be supported under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act and the Plan.

"The plan was comprehensively consulted on and includes significant input from Civil Defence Emergency Management groups, emergency services, local authorities, lifeline utilities, government agencies, and voluntary organisations.

"The plan gives effect to the principle of supporting the management of disasters in the community and provides the framework for that support from the national level, to the regional level and again to the local level.

"The plan sets out roles and responsibility and clearly defines responsibility for such events as a pandemic, bio-security or terrorism event and how the emergency management plan will support the agencies that are responsible for responding to those events.

"I'm pleased with the new plan, it gives us a clear structure for emergency management and puts in place guidance necessary for effective and efficient emergency management.

"As the new Civil Defence Minister, I congratulate all those involved in drafting the plan. The plan confirms the philosophy of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act that local people and organisations are responsible for dealing with emergencies in their area, because they know the area and capacity best.

"Central Government will provide direction and ensure support will be available from a national or international level when necessary," said Mr Barker.

The plan can be viewed at www.civildefence.govt.nz

ENDS

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