Chch tsunami sirens a 'waste of money' - mayor

6:24 pm on 16 August 2017

Christchurch's network of tsunami sirens have been labelled a "waste of money" by the city's mayor Lianne Dalziel.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel. The Christchurch City Council has ordered a review of the sirens. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

They were installed by Ms Dalziel's predecessor, Bob Parker, in 2012 and cost $500,000.

They were originally only intended as a warning about the risk posed by tsunamis on the other side of the Pacific, where people would have up to 12 hours before the first surges hit.

They were never meant to act as a response to local events such as Kaikōura where there was much less time to evacuate.

Civil Defence advice has always been to get to higher ground if the shaking is long and strong.

After last November's Kaikōura earthquake hit, the Ministry of Civil Defence issued a tsunami alert at 1am.

However, Christchurch tsunami sirens did not sound until after 2am, leaving many residents living in the seaside settlement of New Brighton confused about whether they were required to evacuate.

After the response was criticised, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel requested a review.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel told a council committee yesterday the sirens were a "waste of money" because of the "nature of the tsunami threat we face in the Christchurch environment and the fact they are only sirens and don't provide for voice commands".

The council has now ordered a report on the sirens.

In April, another Christchurch City Council report revealed a communication breakdown between the council and Civil Defence.