Cabinet will establish a Government inquiry to review the response to severe weather events in the North Island this year.
Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty said it was normal practice, regardless of the size of the weather event.
“Given the significance of Hale, Auckland Floods and Gabrielle, it is appropriate that a government inquiry is set up. It will be led by former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae,” he said.
“Affected communities, including rural, Māori and Pacific communities, have raised concerns about communication and support during the response.
“With climate change we are seeing more frequent and complex weather events across New Zealand, and because people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake, it is critically important that our emergency management system is fit for purpose and ready to respond to future emergency events. There are lessons to be learned. It is important we incorporate these into our systems so we can continue to improve.”
The Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (HB CDEM) Joint Committee, which governs HB CDEM on behalf of the region’s five councils, welcomed the announcement.
Chair of the Joint Committee and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Hinewai Ormsby said it was a significant step to ensure emergency management systems continued to improve. She said the region’s leaders were committed to an independent, fair and transparent review of the HB CDEM’s cyclone response.
She said the announcement was timely as the committee had approved terms of reference and a framework for its own independent review of the response.
“The independent review will focus on improving resilience and ensuring that HB CDEM has robust emergency management capability and capacity to support better emergency management outcomes for Hawke’s Bay communities. It was always intended to complement and inform any Government Inquiry.”
“We look forward to both reviews providing insights into what happened and how it was handled.
“We agree that recommendations of both reviews need to be implemented without delay and that the Emergency Management Bill provides an opportunity for change through the select committee process,” Ormsby said.
Public Interest Journalism funded by New Zealand on Air.