Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is calling on the Government to establish enduring changes to streamline future emergency responses.
LGNZ President, Stuart Crosby said local government played a critical role in helping communities get back on their feet after devastating events like Cyclone Gabrielle.
“The Severe Weather Emergency Legislation Bill makes it easier for councils leading the recovery phase,” said Mr Crosby.
“But as emergencies become more frequent, councils require long lasting solutions to support response efforts. That means changes to the Local Government Act to make things like online quorums for meetings automatic when disaster strikes.
“During an emergency councils must make rapid decisions. When it’s not possible to meet in person, councillors should be able to meet virtually without first needing a bill to pass through parliament.”
He said LGNZ was calling on the Government to consider practical improvements like these as part of its upcoming emergency management review.
“Ultimately, central government needs to trust and enable councils to make the best decisions for their communities.”
“Repeatedly, local leaders have handled emergencies incredibly well. That’s no accident. They have the local knowledge and networks required to navigate the likes of what we saw last month,” said Mr Crosby.