Run­ning NZ from a sea­side sub­urb

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - SIMON MAUDE

It’s a quaint, sea­side sub­urb of mil­lion-dol­lar homes and a sin­gle, stran­gled road in and out to the rest of Auck­land.

And though few in Devon­port re­alise, it is qui­etly bid­ing its time as Welling­ton’s heir in wait­ing. Yes, Devon­port, the fu­ture cap­i­tal of New Zealand - should dis­as­ter strike that is.

If a large-mag­ni­tude earth­quake dev­as­tates Welling­ton, our coun­try’s lead­ers will be evac­u­ated from the precincts of par­lia­ment, 634 kilo­me­tres north to Auck­land’s Devon­port Naval Base.

It is part of the govern­ment’s worst-case con­tin­gency plan, and in­volves mov­ing all MPs and cer­tain ‘‘key of­fi­cials’’ -a to­tal of 170 evac­u­ated to Devon­port.

On the plan’s un­veil­ing in June 2014, then-Civil De­fence Min­is­ter Nikki Kaye said try­ing to keep the govern­ment go­ing in a quak­er­av­aged Welling­ton would be im­pos­si­ble.

And a new re­port shows re­pair­ing Welling­ton could cost more than $26 bil­lion, but the city might never fully re­cover any­way.

The ‘ Con­tin­gency Plan Emer­gency Re­lo­ca­tion of Ex­ec­u­tive Gov- ern­ment and Par­lia­ment fol­low­ing a Ma­jor Welling­ton Earth­quake’ re­port is set for its next multi-agency re­view this month, a Par­lia­men­tary Ser­vices spokesman said.

If a ‘‘worst case’’ nat­u­ral dis­as­ter like a se­vere earth­quake struck, min­is­ters and Par­lia­men­tary staff could be flown out of Welling­ton within hours, 2014 Cabi­net pa­pers showed.

Bunkered un­der­neath the Bee­hive, Civil De­fence’s na­tional head­quar­ters would co-or­di­nate the Welling­ton evac­u­a­tion, pri­ori­tis­ing who is re­moved first.

The New Zealand De­fence Force with its 21-he­li­copter fleet would co­or­di­nate the trans­fer of the of­fi­cials to the naval base.

The plan calls for Devon­port Naval Base to be used for up to two weeks be­fore a suit­able longer-term tem­po­rary cap­i­tal was found.

So what do Devon­port res­i­dents feel about be­ing inun­dated with the good and the great?

An­drew Os­borne, man­ager of Devon­port’s Corelli’s Cafe, said as long as the politi­cians are spend­ing it would be ‘‘all good’’ hav­ing them at the base.

‘‘We have North Shore MP Mag­gie Barry here quite reg­u­larly, we’re used to politi­cians.’’

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