Civil Defence Minister Chris Tremain has announced that an independent review of the civil defence and emergency management response to the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake has now been completed, and the findings released in a report.

The review was initiated by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (Ministry) and conducted by Ian McLean Consultancy Services Ltd, and covers the period of the official response phase, which commenced on 22 February 2011 and concluded on 30 April 2011, after which date recovery was taken over by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

The final report makes 108 recommendations that would involve work across different central and local government agencies.

The Government has indicated it will adopt four of the report's six major recommendations. The Government will:

  • explore options for the availability of suitably experienced emergency managers to support response operations in large-scale emergencies;
  • review its guidelines and promote better connection between the official emergency response and community organisations;
  • review its guidelines and ensure higher priority is given to preserving businesses and jobs after an emergency; and
  • continue to promote a culture of preparedness for emergencies among individuals, families and organisations in all sectors.

However, the Government will not:

  • relocate the Ministry within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet; the Ministry will remain within the Department of Internal Affairs and will work to increase other agencies' awareness of its lead role in a major emergency; or
  • place responsibility for control of the response to local emergencies wholly with the 16 regional Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups rather than being in practice delegated to territorial local authorities; the Ministry will instead continue to work with the CDEM Groups to strengthen, rather than diminish, the role of councils in all aspects of CDEM.

An action plan is being developed to address the 102 further recommendations and will be finalised in November 2012.

The Report can be found here.