28 Jan 2010

Government moves to establish back-up crisis centre

10:54 pm on 28 January 2010

The Government is moving to set up alternative crisis management centres to take over if a disaster renders the centre in the capital Wellington inoperable.

The centre under the Beehive is used to coordinate Civil Defence responses.

Planning for a back-up centre in Auckland has begun, with the possibility of a third centre in Christchurch.

The Cabinet funding comes from money allocated for upgrades to better coordinate disaster responses.

Civil Defence Minister John Carter says there was concern there would be no alternative headquarters if Wellington suffered a major crisis.

Mr Carter says the Auckland centre likely to be based at the site of the new super-city council.

Meanwhile, Civil Defence is preparing to launch a system for gathering and sending out information in a move it says will deliver faster and better coordinated responses.

The Emergency Management Information System is part of a group of upgrades costing $2.8 million. The funding has been allocated by the Government.

Civil Defence says the new system, which will create a common computer base for emergency workers, is not in response to how it handled last year's tsunami warning.

Both an internal and external report were critical of the organisation's response.

Civil Defence national controller David Coetzee says the need was identified in 2003, because organisations cannot share information effectively.