Minister of Civil Defence Hon Kris Faafoi opened the Waikato Group Emergency Management Office on Monday. Mr Faafoi says the new facility will improve the ability of the Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group to respond to emergencies.
“The Waikato CDEM Group comprises eleven local authorities and between them they face a wide range of risks from natural and other hazards. It is fantastic to see that the Group now has a resilient, purpose built facility that can support emergency responses right across the region.”
The new building has been constructed to be operational immediately after an earthquake or any other emergency. Outside of emergency situations the office is used for readiness and reduction activities.
“As we have seen in recent events such as the January flooding in the Firth of Thames, the Waikato CDEM Group performs well when called upon. This office will coordinate efforts right across the Waikato region and will boost the Group’s ability to initiate response and recovery activities swiftly and effectively, helping to keep people safe.”
While in Waikato, Mr Faafoi met with iwi, local mayors and civil defence staff to discuss the findings of the Ministerial Review “Better Responses to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies in New Zealand’, undertaken by a technical advisory group (TAG).
“The TAG report makes a number of recommendations so it is important for me to hear from local authorities and iwi as we work to develop a Government response.
“The civil defence response is hugely reliant on the effort and commitment of local groups across New Zealand so it is really important for us as a Government to hear from these people and to discuss the recommendations as widely as I possibly can.
“The current system stands up well when we need it, and has done so throughout the pressures, issues and challenges in recent years. But it is clear more must be done, particularly given the increasing events we have experienced I’m absolutely committed to making sure we have a fully robust and sustainable system and I know all of those involved in this work share that commitment.”