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Government Inquiry into North Island severe weather events welcomed

Hinewai Ormsby

The Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (HB CDEM) welcomes the Government's Inquiry to review the response to the North Island severe weather events. 

The HB CDEM Joint Committee governs HB CDEM on behalf of the region’s five councils.
Hinewai Ormsby, Chair of the Joint Committee and Hawke's Bay Regional Council, says today’s announcement is a significant step in ensuring the emergency management system continues to learn, improve, and provide the best possible outcomes for communities. 
“The HB CDEM Group Joint Committee members – our region’s mayors and I – welcome the establishment of this Inquiry,” Hinewai Ormsby says.
“As regional leaders, we are committed to an independent, fair, and transparent review of HB CDEM’s response to Cyclone Gabrielle. 
“Today’s announcement is timely, as on Monday the Joint Committee approved the terms of reference and framework for our own independent review of the HB CDEM Group’s response to Cyclone Gabrielle. 
‘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,” she says. 
The new inquiry to review the response to the North Island severe weather events will be established under the Inquiries Act 2013. 

Hawke’s Bay Lead Recovery Minister Kieran McAnulty said it is normal practice for local Civil Defence to review the response to a severe weather event, regardless of size. 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.”

“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.”

1 July 2023

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