Thursday, June 13, 2024

Historic Northland state of emergency cancelled

The state of emergency declared for Northland yesterday as part of a multi-agency response to a Red Heavy Rain Warning for the region has been lifted ahead of schedule.

Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group Controller, Graeme MacDonald said while emergency declarations are normally for a seven-day period, the relevant legislation provides for these to be either extended or ended earlier.

“The decision to seek an emergency declaration was made in consultation with stakeholders and elected officials as a precautionary step ahead of the anticipated weather yesterday afternoon and evening,” said Mr MacDonald.

“The reason for doing it was to enable the use of the emergency powers to protect life and property which are available under the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act 2002.

“As it eventuated, these powers were not required and there is no need for the emergency declaration to continue.”

He thanked Northlanders for their understanding and preparations.

“For our partner agencies – emergency services, councils and contractors, health and welfare agencies, community groups, electricity network and telecommunications providers, community groups and iwi – it has been one of the biggest exercises in advance preparation that I can recall in Northland.”

“Police, Fire and Emergency, Hato Hone St John and NZ Defence Force all brought additional personnel and equipment into Northland and there was a strong presence of responders in some of the locations that have historically been the first to be cut off by flooding,” said Mr MacDonald.

Yesterday’s emergency declaration was communicated via an emergency phone alert; however, Northland CDEM Group has opted not to send a second alert today for the lifting of the State of Emergency, to minimise any disruption of the public. 

It was an historic declaration for the region, with just five emergency declarations announced since 1973.

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