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Govt, Civil Defence unhappy with warnings

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/11/2016

New Zealand's Minister of Defense Gerry Brownlee

New Zealand's Minister of Defense Gerry Brownlee
© AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

Nobody is happy with the way tsunami warnings were activated after Monday's earthquake, but acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says people have to remember those responsible for activating them are mostly volunteers.

The government is investigating a national tsunami warning system, but in the meantime alarms are activated by each region's local Civil Defence organisation, he said on Friday.

Mr Brownlee said not he or anyone, including Civil Defence, thought the response to the tsunami threat was acceptable.

"It actually brings into question the whole way in which Civil Defence is structured and I think we need to remember that it's structured pretty much on a volunteer basis," he said.

Mr Brownlee said given the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that triggered the tsunamis happened at just 12.02am he would like to think there could be people employed 24/7 "to protect against this" going forward and acknowledged all political parties had indicated willingness to resolve the issue together.

"The encouraging thing is people by and large did heed the warning and even though it was inconvenient for them ... they did make the right choices," he said.

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