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Brownlee flags more Civil Defence changes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/02/2017 Daniel Gilhooly
Gerry Brownlee © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Gerry Brownlee

Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has flagged changes to Civil Defence laws so states of emergency can be declared earlier following natural disasters.

Mr Brownlee has been critical of the time it took to declare a local state of emergency during Christchurch's Port Hills fires this week.

On Friday morning, he issued a statement saying the fires, and also the Kaikoura earthquake, highlighted the need to streamline the legislation, despite changes being made last year.

He stressed he wasn't criticising those on the ground in both Christchurch City and Selwyn District and no minister had ever declared a local state of emergency over the top of local authorities.

"It's the way information is reported up the chain and the time it can take to access up-to-date information that has been of most concern for me.

"Clarifying and simplifying the chain of command will help ensure clear lines of communication and effective decision-making in the immediate aftermath of significant events.

"In a country so prone to natural disasters, it's in everyone's best interests to ensure we are as resilient and ready to respond as we can be," Mr Brownlee said.

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