Boost for civil de­fence

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Al­most three years af­ter be­ing la­belled the re­gion in the coun­try least pre­pared for an emer­gency, Waikato’s civil de­fence stocks have re­ceived a boost.

Waikato Civil De­fence Emer­gency Man­age­ment Group has signed an agree­ment with the board of the Mys­tery Creek Events Cen­tre al­low­ing the group to use the cen­tre in a large-scale emer­gency.

Group con­troller Lee Ha­zle­wood said the ar­range­ment would save ratepay­ers tens of thou­sands of dol­lars a year and was a great ex­am­ple of ‘‘good cor­po­rate ci­ti­zen­ship’’.

The Mys­tery Creek board ap­proached civil de­fence of­fer­ing their head­quar­ters and fa­cil­i­ties as a backup for the group’s Hamil­ton emer­gency co-or­di­na­tion cen­tre in Vic­to­ria St.

Mys­tery Creek’s new events cen­tre was built with ex­tra wire­less in­ter­net ca­pac­ity and ex­ter­nal elec­tri­cal hook-ups to sup­port por­ta­ble of­fice con­tain­ers.

‘‘Nor­mally we’d have to pay a re­tainer of about $30,000 a year for re­tain­ing fa­cil­i­ties as an emer­gency backup,’’ Mr Ha­zle­wood.

‘‘This is a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of an or­gan­i­sa­tion think­ing of them­selves as a mem­ber of the com­mu­nity.’’

Mr Ha­zle­wood said Mys­tery Creek had sig­nif­i­cant lo­gis­ti­cal man­age­ment ex­pert- ise, which was also a tremen­dous as­set for the group.

Next year civil de­fences starts an ini­tia­tive to pro­mote greater cor­po­rate ci­ti­zen­ship with mid- and large-size busi­nesses.

Mr Ha­zle­wood said the ini­tia­tive was a ‘‘two-way street’’, with the group keen to help busi­nesses pre­pare con­tin­gency plans to deal with a ma­jor emer­gency.

In 2011 a gov­ern­ment re­view as­sessed the Waikato’s civil de­fence or­gan­i­sa­tion as in­ad­e­quate, giv­ing it a mark of 44.7 per cent – the low­est score of all re­gions in New Zealand.

Mr Ha­zle­wood said that in the past two years the group had ad­dressed 47 of the 76 rec­om­men­da­tions in the as­sess­ment re­port.

Work on another 17 rec­om­men­da­tions was un­der way.

‘‘ Hav­ing an ex­pand­able group co­or­di­na­tion cen­tre was one of those rec­om­men­da­tions, so hav­ing this backup fa­cil­ity at Mys­tery Creek makes us more pre­pared in the re­gion,’’ Mr Ha­zle­wood said.

‘‘We scored low in sev­eral ar­eas in the as­sess­ment re­port and have taken great steps to ad­dress all of the rec­om­men­da­tions that came out of it.

‘‘We had very lit­tle ca­pa­bil­ity be­fore and we’re in a far bet­ter place than we were.’’

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