The consistency of Civil Defence responses around the country is being questioned by Labour leader Andrew Little, who says his visit to Dunedin has highlighted more should have been done when flooding hit there.
Civil Defence had responded straight away to flooding this weekend in Whanganui, Taranaki and Wairarapa, but Little said “in Dunedin it looks like there was no response at a time a response was needed.”
Little visited the South Island city and said some properties were “pretty badly damaged, there’s still a long way to go for them to be fixed.”
It was “a misjudgment” to have not called a Civil Defence emergency in Dunedin, Little said.
“So compare that to what is happening in Whanganui, Taranaki and Wairarapa where Civil Defence reacted as soon as it became apparent that the rains were very heavy and it could be flooding, and acted to evacuate even, strictly speaking, before people needed to be evacuated.”
Little doesn’t seem to understand how civil defence in NZ works.
His comments indicate he thinks that the Ministry of Civil Defence decided whether to call a state of emergency, and that it has not been consistent.
Civil Defence at the local level is the responsibility of the respective territorial authorities, and the decision to call a state of emergency is made by the local Mayor, not by the Ministry or the Minister.
So Andrew Little is basically saying he knows better than the local Mayor.