• Video: Strong public submission to independent review into Civil Defence response to Cyclone Gabrielle

Video: Strong public submission to independent review into Civil Defence response to Cyclone Gabrielle

About 1,000 submissions have been made to the Independent Review into the Civil Defence response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

The independent review was launched in April by the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Committee, which oversees the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Management Group. This review is in addition to a Government Inquiry, headed by former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, that will review the response to the North Island severe weather events this year, including Cyclone Gabrielle. The Government announced the inquiry in June and it is expected to report back by March next year.

Hawke’s Bay communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle have criticised the speed of the civil defence response in the immediate aftermath of the Cyclone.

The Independent Review Panel, headed by former Police Commissioner Mike Bush, called for Hawke’s Bay communities and mana whenua to anonymously share their experiences and their views of the civil defence response in an online survey.

Bush said in a statement today that the “overwhelming response highlights the critical importance of capturing community and mana whenua views as part of our ongoing review process”.

He says the Panel is making good progress and will continue engaging with community ad mana whenua to ensure a range of peoples’ experiences and opinions are reflected in the final report.

The final report, which will be presented to the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Standing Committee, is on track to be delivered by the

end of March 2024.

“This week we have decided to extend the timeframe for the community survey, enabling it to remain open through until 15 January 2024. We will also be investing some additional time and resource to ensure we undertake a robust and meaningful engagement process for whānau and communities across Te Matau-a-Māui Hawke’s Bay.”

“We also wish to acknowledge and thank those impacted residents who have already responded to the survey, including those that have shared their deeply personal experiences relating to the Cyclone Gabrielle response.”

In a presentation to the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Committee on Monday, Bush said the Panel was being as “caring, compassionate, and empathetic as we possibly can as we engage with everyone involved”.

“Also, very conscious of the fact that we are re-traumatising people as we go and ensuring that everyone we talk to, they know where to go for support.”

Bush said the Panel had spoken to operators, Civil Defence staff, emergency response management civic leaders and chief executives to get views from the “technical side” of the response.

“Where we're really at now is in terms of the engagement and consultation with mana whenua and with community. So all those pieces are in play.”

He says that the online survey has been extended to 31 December.

Asked by Wairoa District Councillor Jeremy Harker what the Panel had done in terms of collecting responses and opinions from Wairoa, Bush a team had spend a few days in Wairoa.

“But we accept that there's more work to do there in terms of engaging with every emergency service and everyone that responded. We'll get across as many people as possible.”

Those requiring support can find it at https://www.hbemergency.govt.nz/cyclone-gabrielle-review/where-to-get-help

The online survey can be completed by visiting: https://feedback.askyourteam.com/CBqcR2c.