The Office of the Auditor-General report into CERA’s effectiveness must be viewed in the context of New Zealand’s most significant natural disaster, the Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Gerry Brownlee says.
“I believe the report as a whole is unbalanced at times and doesn’t compare CERA with other recovery agencies or post-disaster experiences worldwide,” Mr Brownlee says.
“After I requested the involvement of the OAG from the early stages of CERA, it’s disappointing that this report only reflects their inability to identify problems earlier.
“CERA was in an evolving post-disaster situation – that included thousands of aftershocks. People were very stressed for a great number of reasons and the report skims over the enormity of this impact on every facet of the community’s recovery.
“The report compares CERA to government departments that have existed for decades and doesn’t recognise the unprecedented nature of the organisation and its tasks.
“The clarity of the role of CERA and relationships with other agencies had to evolve in order for the government to be able to disestablish the organisation and move towards a new regeneration phase after five years, as we committed to.
“The report says CERA’s communications did not meet public expectations, but fails to compare them with the experiences of recovery agencies worldwide, where this is sadly always the case.
“CERA was subject to annual audits, including quality assurance reports, as well as a robust select committee process and was assisted in financial management by Treasury.
“I remain proud of the work CERA staff accomplished alongside other local and central government agencies and they should be too,” Mr Brownlee says.
The restoration of Kaikōura Harbour after last year’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake is expected to be completed by the middle of the year.
Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced progress on the slipway, ramp and channel deepening as a result of the November 14 earthquake lifting the seabed between one and two metres in some areas.
“At the moment access is severely restricted and the harbour channel is so shallow, it can only be used four hours a day – two hours either side of the tide,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Commercial operators can only schedule between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of their previously planned tours and the district’s commercial fishing industry has also been adversely affected.
“The importance of tourism and fishing cannot be underestimated – the annual tourism spend in Kaikōura is $120 million (domestic and international) and the value of the annual fishing catch is approximately $25-30 million.
“The $5 million government grant meant work could start straight away on repairing and upgrading this essential piece of infrastructure.
“Crews have already started to repair the marina and have been clearing and levelling the main commercial slipway. Work has also progressed at the recreational wharf and the Coastguard Kaikōura slipway.
“At the same time the channel into the main harbour is being deepened by dredging out the new sea floor. So far, about 5000 cubic metres of material has been excavated.
“It’s a big job that will result in the channel being two metres deep at low tide and able to be used all day. Work is expected to be complete by mid-year.
“The restoration has safeguards to avoid, remedy or mitigate any impact on the marine environment,” Mr Brownlee says.
Notes to editors:
- The harbour restoration is being funded by a grant of up to $5 million announced in December.
- Three excavators are at work, scooping up the limestone from the seabed to deepen the channel.
- The largest excavator can remove one and half cubic metres per scoop. As the material is scooped up, the excavator lays it down again in front of its path, creating its own path as it moves along. The material will all be removed at the end of the project.
- The diggers can be seen in this recent video posted by Whale Watch Kaikōura.
Attachment: Diggers work to deepen the channel at the entrance of Kaikōura Harbour.
- Kaikoura Harbour Restoration.jpg (jpg 488.51 KB)
Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has today announced $889,000 of funding grants to boost New Zealand’s resilience to natural hazards and their consequences.
Mr Brownlee says the grants are awarded from the 2017 Resilience Fund, an annual fund of $889,000 administered by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM).
Nine councils and organisations from Northland to Southland have been awarded grants this year.
“The projects include training programmes, tsunami preparedness for schools and early childhood centres, improved waste management in emergencies, and planning for specific hazards, such as a rupture of the Alpine Fault,” Mr Brownlee says.
“New Zealand’s regions are leading some of the resilience work at the coalface of Civil Defence Emergency Management, and this is an opportunity for the government to support and tap into projects that will have flow-on benefits for the rest of the country.
“This will help to improve our understanding of hazards, boost our preparedness to them, and build on the world-leading skills and expertise that New Zealand possesses.”
“The government is committed to improving New Zealand’s resilience to its natural hazards.
“Today’s announcement follows last year’s $6.2 million Budget boost for the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management to support its efforts to ensure New Zealanders are better prepared for emergencies.
“We are also developing a national public alerting system, and have recently announced an additional $3 million investment to boost Geonet’s natural hazards monitoring capability,” Mr Brownlee says.
Notes to editors
Applications for the fund were considered by a moderation panel, with criteria that placed a strong emphasis on improved collaboration, improved resilience at a local and regional level, and promoted consistent approaches.
· $245,000 to Environment Southland for Alpine Fault resilience work. This grant provides the second year of funding of a two-year project to improve understanding of the Alpine Fault rupture.
· $230,000 for the Integrated Training Framework, which provides a platform for the development of national standard training to enhance the competency of staff working in Emergency Operation Centres.
· $100,000 to Bay Of Plenty Regional Council and others to develop a web-based tool for disaster and emergency waste management.
· $89,250 to Stratsim Ltd, to create information infrastructure for the real-time discovery, access and use of the data that needs to be accessed in an emergency.
· $70,000 to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for the East Coast LAB: Tsunami Safer Schools Preparedness Guide, which will identify early childhood education centres and schools located within tsunami evacuation zones, develop a ‘Tsunami Safer Schools’ tool box and pilot at schools in Gisborne, Napier and Wellington.
· $51,750 to Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, for the Taranaki Vulnerability Study, which will develop hazard information and identify regionally critical sites.
· $40,000 to Northland Regional Council, for the Practical Tools for Civil Defence Emergency Management Welfare.
· $40,000 for Waimakariri District Council, to develop a Guide to Effective Local Social Recovery, outlining what is needed for successful social recovery.
· $23,000 to Marlborough Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, to develop the Marlborough Lifelines Regional Fuel Plan, which will address issues relating to lack of fuel supply.
The Resilience Fund is distributed on an annual basis. For full details on the successful applicants, visit: http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/cdem-sector/cdem-resilience-fund/#current
New Zealand and Singapore’s Defence Ministers Gerry Brownlee and Dr Ng Eng Hen today observed Exercise Thunder Warrior, an artillery live-firing exercise at the Waiouru Training Area.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) exercise.
The ministers also conducted the inaugural Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
On behalf of Singapore, Dr Ng thanked the government and people of New Zealand for their strong support in providing opportunities for the SAF to train in New Zealand.
Mr Brownlee and Dr Ng said both nations remained committed to the relationship and looked forward to further opportunities to strengthen defence cooperation.
Building on this positive momentum, Ministers agreed to initiate an annual formal Ministerial meeting to conduct discussions on issues of mutual concern.
The key principles of the 2009 Defence Cooperation Arrangement were endorsed at the ministers’ meeting, particularly that cooperation between like-minded countries on defence and security issues is an essential part of responding effectively to threats to regional peace and stability.
Ministers agreed to explore opportunities for further cooperation between the SAF and NZDF, including training opportunities in New Zealand.
Mr Brownlee and Dr Ng welcomed the establishment of annual Air Force Staff Talks, an Education and Training Working Group and an Operational Working Group, as ways to discuss new cooperation initiatives.
They acknowledged the historical collaboration between Singapore and New Zealand on overseas operations, including in Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.
Mr Brownlee noted that Singapore is New Zealand’s closest defence partner in South East Asia and that New Zealand supported the upcoming counter-terrorism deployment of the Singaporean Armed Forces medical team to Iraq.
Mr Brownlee affirmed New Zealand’s continued commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus framework.
Dr Ng welcomed the Royal New Zealand Navy’s participation of a Naval Task Group to Singapore for Exercise Bersama Shield and the International Naval Review in April 2017.
The Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Gerry Brownlee says discussions are continuing about the future of the ChristChurch Cathedral.
“The Cathedral Working Group was formed in June to consider restoration options for the earthquake-damaged cathedral,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The group delivered its final recommendation on November 28.
“Proposals from the working group were considered by Cabinet today however discussions continue with the Church Property Trustees.
“Details about what was discussed at Cabinet will remain confidential.
“The story published by Newstalk ZB and the New Zealand Herald this afternoon was wildly inaccurate,” Mr Brownlee says.
A grant of up to $5 million to help with the post-earthquake restoration of Kaikoura Harbour was announced today by Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.
“This grant will ensure work can begin as soon as possible to dredge the harbour, which is a pivotal lifeline to the Kaikoura region,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 resulted in the seabed rising between one and two metres in some areas, which has severely restricted access to the region by sea.
“We want to help Kaikoura get back on its feet as quickly as possible, so this grant is another part of the support being provided by the Government towards this goal.”
Mr Joyce says a functioning reliable Kaikoura harbour is crucial to the economic wellbeing of the wider Kaikoura district.
“Tourism operators currently only have a two-hour window at high tide when they can use the harbour, while fisheries who rely on trailer-launched vessels are unable to operate at all,” Mr Joyce says.
“We need to get the harbour restored as soon as possible, to get the blood pumping again in the local economy.
“Kaikoura is a vibrant South Island community, and this grant will help ensure this continues to be the case despite the setback delivered by the recent earthquake.”
Both Ministers say the restoration work planned will incorporate safeguards to ensure any impact on the marine environment is avoided, remedied or mitigated.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says 2016 has seen the New Zealand Defence Force respond to natural disasters, train Iraqi soldiers and future-proof the country’s Defence industry.
“I think most of us will remember 2016 as a turbulent and extraordinary year for the world,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The men and women of the New Zealand Defence Force perform essential roles in protecting New Zealanders, supporting our friends and neighbours and furthering New Zealand’s interests around the globe.
“The year kicked off with devastating bushfires in Tasmania where Defence Force firefighters headed to Australia to help our closest ally.
“That was followed by our largest peacetime deployment after Cyclone Winston, which caused widespread destruction in Fiji in February.
“In April, a new battle training facility for our Special Forces, as well as Police and other government agencies, was opened.
“Then, in the middle of the year, the NZDF took part in RIMPAC, the world’s largest maritime exercise.
“Around this time I released the latest Defence White Paper, mapping our unprecedented $20 billion investment plan for defence.
“Amid all this, Defence Force personnel continued to participate in deployments around the world – from the Middle East to Antarctica – to ensure we do our bit in the global community.
“This has included training 16,000 Iraqi soldiers to enable them to combat Daesh.
“This year also saw major ceremonial commitments, including the Army Band performing for Her Majesty, the Queen, at Windsor Castle and the moving Somme commemorations in France, honouring those New Zealanders who fought, and fell, in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
“The Navy also celebrated its 75th anniversary with a year-long series of activities to mark the occasion.
“This culminated in November with the International Naval Review in Auckland where the Navy hosted a large number of foreign warships – including the USS Sampson – the first US Navy ship to visit New Zealand in over 30 years.
“In a striking show of comradeship, three ships – the Sampson, the Vancouver from Canada and the Darwin from Australia – sailed to Kaikoura to join the New Zealand Defence Force response and the HMNZS Canterbury.
“It was a year which, once again, saw our people at their very best.
“As Minister of Defence, I want to thank them, on behalf of all New Zealanders, for their service and sacrifice,” Mr Brownlee says.