Civil defense shortfalls

We’re not sure of the details, but a reader has written in saying that all the candidates (including the three sitting councillors) at the Mt Victoria forum were stunned by what an active civil defense volunteer had to say about the capital’s state of readyness for “the big one”.

If anyone has any further details on what was said, or implied, please email us or leave a comment…


6 responses to “Civil defense shortfalls

  1. I was there and yes I was shocked by Bill Southworth’s comments about the rundown state of civil defence in Wellington, but he blamed the last government’s changes of directions as much as the council. I agree. I told the meeting that Civil Defence could not prepare properly becuae it couldn’t work out what and who in its organisation would be left after a major quiake. Hence the ‘you are on your own’ message and the new focus on having emergency kits. The harsh reality that they don’t wish to share is that CD has no idea about when they will get to you, because roads may be compeletely impassable for weeks.

  2. Don’t agree with you John – this Government can’t keep blaming the last Government for everything. They’ve been in power for 2 years now and what have they done for the people of Wellington? Nothing! Cr. Ian Mckinnon made it clear that council had restructured the CitiOperations team to take on the emergency management/CD work and this had proved beneficial. He also said that people simply don’t volunteer anymore and CD has historically heavily relied on this expertise.

  3. I believe Bill started off raising concerns over our water supply and the fact it was close to fault lines. Water and sewerage had been major areas of concern in ChCh’s earthquake. In effect there has been inadequate risk management from our council. And the state of civil defense was another example of insufficient attention to this core function. I agree. Its why I am a big advocate for investing in our water infrastructure – something this council pays lip service too. There were also concerns over the relaxation of heritage building standards. And ChCh has woken our council up a bit about where its priorities should have been over the last 3 years. The restructuring might have been a step in the right direction, but I think Bill’s point was that it was woefully inadequate. In essence, council have preferred to invest in monuments rather than public safety. I have to say I thought deflecting the blame to a lack of volunteers (ie the public) was a weak answer, but then the alternative was to accept that council had probably fallen short of good governance in this whole area. Its why we need change (ie new councilors), because the existing lot are incapable of prioritising the important stuff over the trivial.

  4. I volunteered along with my wife 2 years ago. It took 6 months for them to reply via mail telling us we had been accepted. Since then, absolutely nothing. I have absolutely no idea what would be expected of me as a volunteer if a disaster were to happen tomorrow.

  5. Hayden is right. Georgio misconstrued my remarks. I was not dumping on the previous government. There are two points. CD in Wellington is not in good shape – whatever the reasons. It needs to be better. Secondly, we are on our own, and until CD gets to us we have to fend for ourselves. Question: how long will it take CD to get to us? Answer: don’t know. Depends on what roads are open, how many of the CD people are left alive, how many got to their posts, their ability to organise and lots of other unknowns and unknowables. The truth is that you are on your own – but theey don’t want to admit that or to say so too loudly.

  6. Bishop says: “The truth is that you are on your own – but theey don’t want to admit that or to say so too loudly”
    Sir MichaelFowler’s right: Bishop is a fool. Modern civil defence planning (that’s now, not last century, when Bishop was serving his time as a sin doctor with ACT) is all about making individuals resilient enough to “get thru” (sic), hence the information campaign to make sure people have enough food and water for at least three days. Wellington quake exercises are held every couple of years and the results are in the public domain. None envisages problems with Wellington being totally cut off from re-supply for longer than three days. Don’t give up the day job, John.

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