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JDR Vol.5 No.5 pp. 565-576
(2010)
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2010.p0565

Paper:

Working Together, Building Capacity – A Case Study of Civil Defence Emergency Management in New Zealand

Bo-Yao Lee

Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand, PO Box 805, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

Received:
August 9, 2010
Accepted:
September 11, 2010
Published:
October 1, 2010
Keywords:
New Zealand emergency management, civil defence emergency management, capacity building
Abstract

New Zealanders are exposed to multiple natural hazards. The country has experienced major disasters in the past, but recent decades have been relatively uneventful.1 This paper reviews the New Zealand approach to civil defence emergency management (CDEM), as introduced by the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 (the CDEM Act). The approach promotes co-operative planning and sustainable management of hazard risks through the “4Rs” – reduction (of risks), readiness, response and recovery. It recognises the central government’s roles of national coordination, and emphasises the responsibilities of regional CDEM Groups, local government and communities for managing local hazard risks. The paper reviews various initiatives to illustrate that capacity building is a collective effort requiring active involvement across central and local government, nongovernmental agencies, communities and all individuals. New Zealand’s preparedness is examined from several perspectives, including: the level of public preparedness, lessons learned from real emergencies, a national exercise programme, and a monitoring and evaluation programme. The paper concludes that New Zealanders are making progress but difficulties remain in persuading all parties to work towards the vision of a “Resilient New Zealand.” 1. This paper was submitted before the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand (where the second largest city Christchurch is located) on 4 September 2010. Fortunately, no deaths and only a few serious injuries were reported as a result of the earthquake. The impact on buildings, infrastructure and economy, and psychosocial effects are being assessed as the paper is being finalised. However, the event is set to become the most costly disaster so far in New Zealand history. It will also be the most significant real test for many years of New Zealand’s emergency management arrangements, but it is too soon for an assessment in this paper of their effectiveness.

Cite this article as:
Bo-Yao Lee, “Working Together, Building Capacity – A Case Study of Civil Defence Emergency Management in New Zealand,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.5, No.5, pp. 565-576, 2010.
Data files:
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