INDEPENDENT NEWS

No Surprise In Civil Defence Findings

Published: Wed 10 Nov 2004 11:11 AM
No Surprise In Civil Defence Findings
ACT New Zealand Civil Defence Spokesman Ken Shirley was today unsurprised by reports that the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Ministry is incapable of adequately co-ordinating a response to major national disasters.
"The public also should not be surprised. Flooding in the lower North Island, earlier this year, highlighted the Ministry's inability to provide adequate support and co-ordinate emergency responses across affected regions," Mr Shirley said.
"This situation was always predictable. In 1999, ACT opposed the Labour Government's move to implement a foolish, bureaucratic, centralised structure on civil defence.
"I am appalled that the review recommends a further strengthening and expansion of the Ministry to cope with large-scale disasters. What we have is not a result of inadequate funding, but of systemic failure.
"Pumping even more resources into this inappropriate structure is not the answer - in actual fact, it would likely compound existing problems.
"The Government's attempt at centralisation in this area has been shown to have failed. The organisational control and operational capacity of civil defence must reside at the regional level if efforts are to be effective in civil defence issues," Mr Shirley said.

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