• Video: Councils need to apologise after Independent Review finds Cyclone Gabrielle response failings

Video: Councils need to apologise after Independent Review finds Cyclone Gabrielle response failings

Hawke’s Bay’s local councils need to apologise to the victims of Cyclone Gabrielle, says Dan Gale, whose Eskdale Holiday Park was destroyed by the Cyclone.

Gale was speaking today, after the release of an independent review into the cyclone response.

The independent review of the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group’s response to Cyclone Gabrielle was launched in April last year by the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Committee. This oversees the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Management Group. The Independent Review Panel was headed by former Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

The report found that the early response to Cyclone Gabrielle, led by an "over-confident" local Civil Defence team, was "chaotic", with a State of Emergency declared too late and concerned locals being told they were over-reacting, an independent review into the cyclone has found. Local officials were also "overwhelmed", the report says.

Speaking after the report's release and after regional leaders accepted the findings, Gale told Hawke’s Bay App this afternoon that the councils should apologise.

“They should admit that they failed and then they should come to the public and those who are impacted and have ideas and solutions, and they should talk to those people and get their input.”

Gale said that he believed heads needed to roll and the system needed to change.

“I think both need to occur. I think if they can't implement the recommendations that they had after the 2020 flood, that those people failed in their duty there. And I definitely think the system needs to change.”

“It's great that they've identified a lot of the issues, and so once those are acted on, yeah, that'll be a great start.”

Tomorrow a Government Inquiry, headed by former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, that is reviewing the response to the North Island severe weather events last year, is expected to be released.

This comes after another independent review commissioned by the Napier City Council found late last year that the Napier City Council was “hugely unprepared” for Cyclone Gabrielle in terms of Emergency Management capability.

Meanwhile, Tukituki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Cyclone Recovery, Catherine Wedd says she welcomes the Independent External Review into the HB Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

“The review is thorough, and it is good to see it acknowledges the community’s feelings and feedback.

“Recommendations will be considered alongside the other inquiries.

“It is vital that we learn from this disaster and ensure we are better prepared for the future.”

 Watch the media briefing by the region's mayors, regional council chair and iwi leader. https://www.facebook.com/hawkesbayapp/videos/351709344529644

 To read the full report: https://www.hbemergency.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/HBCDEM-Response-to-Cyclone-Gabrielle-Final-Report.pdf