Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002

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The Civil Defence Emergency Management Act (CDEM Act) came into effect on 1 December 2002. It replaced the Civil Defence Act 1983.

Principal Provisions

The CDEM Act 2002 updates and redefines the duties, functions and powers of central government, local government, emergency services, lifeline utilities and the general public.

Purpose of the Act

The CDEM Act 2002 improves and promotes:

  • the reduction of risks through partnerships with communities
  • the reduction of community disruption from avoidable hazards and risks
  • the reduction of fiscal risks from the costs of disruption
  • more effective and efficient emergency readiness, response and recovery through the integrated activities of responsible agencies and relevant disciplines
  • a culture, processes and structures that encourage and enable people and communities to: - undertake risk management, build operational capabilities for response and recover from emergencies.

The purpose of the CDEM Act 2002 is to:

  • improve and promote the sustainable management of hazards to contribute to well-being, the safety of the public and the protection of property
  • encourage and enable communities to achieve acceptable levels of risk by applying risk management
  • provide for planning and preparation for emergencies and response and recovery in the event of an emergency
  • require local authorities to coordinate CDEM through regional groups
  • integrate local and national CDEM planning and activity
  • encourage the coordination of emergency management across emergency sectors

Other relevant matters

The CDEM Framework involves several instruments of which the CDEM Act 2002 is but one. The instruments of the CDEM Framework include:

  • CDEM Regulations
  • National CDEM Strategy
  • National CDEM Plan
  • CDEM group plans
  • Director's Guidelines
  • Other statutes (e.g. Biosecurity Act 1993, Building Act 1991, Fire Service Act 1975, Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, Health Act 1956, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, Local Government Act 1974, Maritime Transport Act 1994, Resource Management Act 1991).

Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management

The CDEM Act 2002 provides for the appointment of a Director of CDEM, whose functions and duties include:

  • advising the Minister of Civil Defence
  • identifying hazards and risks of national significance
  • co-ordinating national implementation and promotion of civil defence emergency management
  • monitoring and evaluating civil defence emergency management
  • developing the National CDEM Plan, technical standards and guidelines
  • monitoring performance
  • directing and controlling the resources available for civil defence emergency management during a national disaster.

Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups

Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups (CDEM Groups) are a core component of the CDEM Act 2002. A CDEM Group is a consortium of the local authorities in a region working in partnership with emergency services, amongst other things, to:

  • identify and understand hazards and risks
  • prepare CDEM Group plans and manage hazards and risks in accordance with the 4R's (reduction, readiness, response and recovery).

CDEM Groups are established as joint standing committees (of local authority mayors and chairpersons or their delegates) under the Local Government Act 1974. The CDEM Act 2002 gives direction on voting rights and funding liabilities but remains flexible to reflect varying CDEM Group circumstances. It is important to note that under this approach:

  •  member local authorities have equal status
  • individual council autonomy remains - Mayors still have the right to declare an emergency within their territorial boundary, each Mayor and Regional Chairperson agrees
  • the plans under which the CDEM Group operates, and each local authority is responsible for planning and provision of CDEM within its district
  • if a local authority is split by a regional council boundary, the local authority can choose which CDEM Group it wishes to belong to formal linkages are required to be made with emergency service providers.

Civil Defence Emergency Management Plans

Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 every CDEM Group must prepare and approve a Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan (CDEM Plan). These plans must state and provide for:

  • the local authorities that have united to establish the CDEM Group
  • the hazards and risks to be managed by the Group
  • the civil defence emergency management necessary to manage to hazards and risks
  • the objectives of the plan and the relationship of each objective to the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Strategy
  • the apportionment between local authorities of liability for the provision of financial and other resources for the activities of the Group, and the basis for that apportionment
  • the arrangements for declaring a state of emergency in the area of the Group
  • the arrangements for co-operation and co-ordination with other Groups

The CDEM Act 2002 requires that CDEM Groups consult with the public over the development of their CDEM Plan and that interested persons may make submissions about the proposed plan to the CDEM Group. Each CDEM Plan must be reviewed after five years in operation.

Emergency Declarations and Powers

The CDEM Act 2002 provides for local authority delegated representatives, Mayors or the Minister to declare a state of local emergency. The Minister may declare a state of national emergency. Declared emergencies have a 7 day duration and may be extended or terminated.

Emergency powers under the CDEM Act 2002 enable CDEM Groups and controllers to:

  • close/restrict access to roads/public places
  • remove/secure dangerous structures and materials
  • provide rescue, first aid, food, shelter etc
  • conserve essential supplies & regulate traffic
  • dispose of dead persons and animals
  • advise the public
  • provide equipment
  • enter onto premises
  • evacuate premises/places
  • remove vehicles
  • requisition equipment/materials and assistance.

Other CDEM related legislation

Legislation relating to CDEM is not just limited to the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002. There is a variety of other legislation that impacts on CDEM. These Acts may place requirements on particular groups, assist in land use planning and hazard identification or they may be the Acts that govern particular lifeline utilities. They all play a role in CDEM and may be useful as reference points for those wanting additional information about a particular issue in the CDEM Act 2002. They include:

  • Accident Insurance Act 1998
  • Biosecurity Act 1993
  • Broadcasting Act 1989
  • Building Act 1991
  • Chatham Island Council Act 1995
  • Customs and Excise Act 1996
  • Defence Act 1990
  • Earthquake Commission Act 1993
  • Energy Companies Act 1992
  • Fire Service Act 1975
  • Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977
  • Gas Act 1992
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
  • Health Act 1956
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
  • Hospitals Act 1957
  • Local Government Act 1974
  • Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
  • Maritime Transport Act 1994
  • New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000
  • Port Companies Act 1998
  • Public Works Act 1981
  • Resource Management Act 1991
  • Telecommunications Act 1987