New Zealanders expect a national emergency management system that can be relied on to work well when needed. That calls for a system that is underpinned by clear roles and responsibilities, good information and communication, the right capability and resources, and that makes the most of local knowledge - balanced with the need for specialist expertise and national capability.
This is in keeping with the intent of the current legislation. However, practice over the past fifteen years has not always matched this intent. The result is marked variations in practice and patchy capability across the country, and different understandings about roles, responsibilities and authority.
Ensuring public confidence in the emergency management system will require strengthening the application of current legislation, consistent with the intent of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act (CDEM Act), together with some changes, to allow stronger national-level leadership, direction and standards. Our recommendations are interdependent, and should be considered as a package. We believe that together they will provide New Zealand with a system that will be fit-for-purpose and well placed to meet future challenges.