Every five years we are required to review our Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group Plan, as per the requirements of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002.
While there are potential changes to the national emergency system in the future as a result of a number of large events across New Zealand, these may take many months to be completed and subsequently implemented. So in the meantime, we want to ensure our current plan is fit for purpose until this process is completed.
Since our last plan was developed in 2018, the Nelson Tasman region has experienced a number of significant events. Throughout these responses our current arrangements have been tested and no major changes to the way we operate as a CDEM Group have been identified that would require significant change to the structure of our Group Plan.
Our current plan expires in 2023, and while this plan is still fit for purpose, we are proposing to update it in the following way to reflect changes and lessons learnt from responses over the past five years:
- Ensuring our plan details the role of Māori and Iwi in emergency management in the Nelson Tasman region
- Aligning our existing goals and objectives to the National Disaster Resilience Strategy 2019-2029.
- Including a number of improvements to our collective capability to respond to emergencies learnt through recent events
- Updating our regional risk profile to ensure new research and impacts of previous events are incorporated and potential emerging issues are included
- Adoption of the Coordinated Incident Management System version 3 - this is an updated Government standard that defines how public and private sector agencies work together in an emergency.
- Ensuring agency names and positions are updated and correct
- Clarity and readability improvements
- Ensuring alignment with the current iteration of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002
While the current review of the CDEM legislation and system reforms are being undertaken, we will delay reviewing some elements of the existing plan, including our CDEM Group structure, agency roles and responsibilities and our response framework.
The Nelson Tasman Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group Plan is the primary public document that outlines how Nelson Tasman CDEM Group, partners and agencies reduce risk, get ready for, respond to, and recover from major emergencies and disasters in the region. The current Group Plan was agreed to and published in 2018, and it has received minor updates through its life. The main sections of the plan include:
- An assessment of the region's hazards and risks
- A description of the Group's plans to prepare for emergency events and ongoing recovery
- An outline of operational arrangements for responding to emergency events
- The Group's plans to ensure a strategic approach to recovery
- The Group's structure, financing and decision-making processes
- How the Group monitors and evaluates itself
The plan takes account of learnings from significant emergencies around New Zealand, including flood and earthquake events that have affected our own region. The current primary goals listed for the CDEM Group include;
- Building strong, safe, resilient communities
- Reducing the risk of hazards
- Enhancing Response and Recovery Capability
If you would like to view a copy of our current plan, click here.
Over the past five years the region has been impacted by a number of major events that have required a significant coordinated response across multiple agencies. The region is still recovering from the impacts of many of these events.
Cyclone Gita impacted the region in February 2018, resulting in widespread flooding, storm surges and landslides. Golden Bay was significantly impacted, with access via the Takaka Hill compromised by major slips for several months and full re-instatement of the road taking a number of years.
Pigeon Valley fire
In 2019 a large forest fire occurred in the area of Pigeon Valley, near to the town of Wakefield. The fire eventually destroyed 2,300 hectares of forestry and required the evacuation of Wakefield and other smaller settlements in the vicinity.
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic required multi-agency coordination by the CDEM Group to ensure impacted people were able to access support where needed during the lockdowns.
Severe weather 2022
In August of 2022 the region was impacted by a severe weather event that resulted in significant rainfall in Nelson and surrounds, the Whanagamoa’s and Golden Bay. Over 1 metre of rain fell in the Richmond ranges over a 4 day period, resulting in the Maitai River breaching its banks twice and flooding surrounding properties. Over 450 significant landslides were recorded across the region, with a number impacting properties in the Nelson area.
Whilst we have had a number of significant events within the region, we have also had numerous smaller events, including tsunami alerts, earthquakes, surface flooding, hail and high winds. We have also supported a number of the responses to national events, including the Southland, Canterbury, Marlborough and Westport floods in 2020 and 2021, and more recently the response to Cyclone Gabrielle
Following the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016 and Port Hill fires in 2017, an independent review of New Zealand’s response to disasters was undertaken. This identified a number of changes to the system and in 2019 the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established to lead the improvements to our system. In addition to the formation of NEMA and the recommendations of the review, a number of other significant changes are likely to occur over the next 12-24 months;
- A new Civil Defence Emergency Management Act will replace the current legislation. This is due to be passed through the house in 2023, although timeframes may change as a result of the recent response to Cyclone Gabrielle
- A new National Plan and Guide outlining the structures, roles and responsibilities for the management of emergencies within in New Zealand. This is due to be completed and released in 2024
- A new delivery road map for the National Disaster Resilience Strategy
- The outcomes of upcoming reviews of the response to Cyclone Gabrielle
- Resource Management system reform
- Three Waters reform
- The Future of Local Government review
Several other areas of system reform are currently taking place that could impact how we manage risk and undertake the response to events in the future. Thes include:
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