Release of North Island Severe Weather Event Inquiry

  • Hon Mark Mitchell

Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell has today released the Report of the Government Inquiry into the response to the North Island Severe Weather Events.

“The report shows that New Zealand’s emergency management system is not fit-for-purpose and there are some significant gaps we need to address,” Mr Mitchell says.

“This is not about individuals – who do an incredible job in emergency events – but the system as a whole.

“Weather events and other emergencies have a huge impact on local communities and regions. Any response requires involvement from communities, local and central government, authorities and organisations and emergency services.

“We need to ensure New Zealand’s emergency management system is appropriate for responding to future emergency events because lives and livelihoods are at stake.

“I wish to acknowledge that 15 people died, one person is still missing and the lives of many more were forever changed during the North Island Severe weather events of 2023.

“I will consider the Inquiry’s recommendations more fully, along with other recent related reports, and make further decisions in the next few months.

“The Independent Review into the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Response into Cyclone Gabrielle has raised similar issues to the Inquiry. We need to look at these as well as what is coming through in other reviews of these events. I want to take the time to get this right.”

As part of the Government’s work to strengthen the emergency management system, the Government has decided not to proceed with the existing Emergency Management Bill.

“It’s very clear from the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations that the existing Bill does not go far enough or elicit the system-wide change to deliver the robust, fit-for-purpose emergency management framework that New Zealand needs,” Minister Mitchell says.

“It is my intention to introduce a new Bill this term, alongside making system improvements that do not require legislative change.

“I thank the Inquiry team for their work, Chair Sir Jerry Mateparae and panel members John Ombler, Rangimarie Hunia and Julie Greene.

“I’d also like to acknowledge everyone who provided input to this Inquiry. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the Inquiry.

“Weather and other events will continue to impact New Zealand. Our emergency management system needs to change to meet the reality of New Zealand facing more frequent and severe weather events.”

Link to the report: Government Inquiry into the Response to the North Island Severe Weather Events

/Public Release. View in full here.