Video transcript: Auckland Council: Preparedness for responding to an emergency

Transcript for a video about our report, Auckland Council: Preparedness for responding to an emergency.

Title: Auckland Council: Preparedness for responding to an emergency

Leeanne McAviney (Assistant Auditor-General, Sector Performance):

The Auckland’s region’s large population, location, and geography, mean it is vulnerable to many natural and biological hazards.

It is critical that its communities are well prepared to respond to, and recover from, significant emergency events.

Auckland Council plays an important role in emergency preparedness and management in the Auckland region.

The Council coordinates and supports the work of the Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

That Group is made up of a range of organisations that work together to implement the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Plan and provide emergency management support to communities in the Auckland region.

Auckland Emergency Management is the business unit within the Council that supports the work of the Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group.

We wanted to find out how well the Council was improving community resilience and how well prepared it was to respond to natural disasters. 

We carried out some work in 2019 and identified several concerns.

The Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Plan was published in 2016, but there had been limited progress to implement it.

In our view, the plan was too ambitious – the Council was trying to do too much all at once.

There was not a clear programme of emergency management readiness exercises in place, and Auckland Emergency Management needed to work on its relationships with partner agencies.

In 2022 we did more work to understand how much progress the Council had made since 2019.

By then, there had been several emergency events that affected the Auckland region, including the Covid-19 pandemic and water shortages in 2020, and the Papatoetoe tornado and West Auckland floods in 2021.

In January 2023 there were more devastating floods. 

We looked at the Council’s plans and overall preparedness. We did not focus on responses to specific events. However, we are pleased that an independent review was carried out into the Auckland Council’s response to the January floods.  

Overall, we found that Auckland Council is better positioned to carry out its emergency management functions in 2023 than it was in 2019. But there is still a lot of work to do.

Auckland Emergency Management now has more capacity to support its emergency preparedness work with iwi, Māori, and local boards.

It has a prioritised work programme underway, there is more emphasis on training, and relationships have improved.  

However, the Group Plan has now expired and it is far from complete.

The Council needs to update the plan as soon as possible.

This is an opportunity to take stock of what it has learned from recent emergency events, re-engage with relevant organisations and communities, and set realistic and achievable goals for improving emergency management in the region. 

The Council needs to support Auckland Emergency Management to build momentum on its work programme, prioritise its efforts and stay focused.

Strengthening monitoring and oversight will be important.

We’ve made six recommendations in our report to support the Council’s emergency preparedness and management work.

They include developing a strategy and plan to support community resilience and ensuring that the right systems and processes are in place to regularly test capability and review emergency responses to identify improvements.

We plan to follow up on what progress Auckland Council has made against our recommendations and those made by the independent review into the January 2023 flood events.

Read this report at

Watch the original video.