The Canterbury earthquake sequence of 2010 and 2011 presented the Government with unprecedented challenges, not least of which was to ensure consistency and connectedness across each of its agencies who had a role in the response.
This paper examines particular instances where government agencies connected in responding to the earthquake's impact on the built environment, and identifies elements of the experience that should be incorporated in planning for future natural disasters.
The key observations are:
Examples of connectedness often came about due to existing relationships and networks that were not born out of disaster planning but were fortuitous in enabling aspects of the Government's response.
Individual agencies gathered large amounts of information in their response roles, but this could often only be utilised between agencies in an ad hoc way in the absence of existing frameworks for information sharing.
There are opportunities for broader government policies to be implemented as part of the rebuild, but these may be overlooked or under utilised due to competing priorities or lack of advance planning and role awareness.
A whole-of-government review of the experience in Canterbury is required and a strategic approach is necessary to implement change. As part of this, the importance of connectedness should be acknowledged and built into frameworks.