Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty, officially launched the new Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting (MAR) Centre at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) today.
The Government has stood up the centre in response to recommendations from the 2018 Ministerial Review following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and 2017 Port Hills fire, which highlighted vulnerabilities in the system
“Today’s launch of the MAR Centre marks another step towards keeping families and communities in Aotearoa New Zealand safer from natural disasters and other emergencies,” Mr McAnulty says.
“Kiwis can sleep easier at night knowing that twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the MAR Centre is watching for natural hazards and threats across the motu.
“In an emergency, every second counts. In the event of an emergency or natural disaster the MAR Centre will provide fast and accurate alerts to the Government and New Zealanders about what’s happening and what to do.”
The Minister said that today’s launch was part of a comprehensive plan to strengthen the nation’s emergency management system and support inclusive, community-led responses.
“Until now, NEMA operated on an on-call duty system, and so this new centre will make a massive difference to how quickly NEMA can respond to rapidly escalating events, and the ability to foresee and prepare for other emerging risks,” he said.
Director of Civil Defence, Gary Knowles said New Zealand experiences many hazards, and the MAR Centre will provide fast and accurate information so that New Zealanders know what to do in an emergency.
“Particularly where there is a tsunami threat, we need timely and geographically accurate warnings, and the MAR Centre will provide these,” said Mr Knowles.
“Our watch teams will monitor threats, alert the public when it’s needed and report to Government on unfolding situations.
“It will also help regional Civil Defence groups and first responders respond to emergencies in their communities, and provide advice to local and central government.”
More information about the MAR Centre and other aspects of the emergency management system reforms can be found here.