Federated Farmers Submission on Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Amendment Bill
The Federation takes a very strong interest in the adverse events area as our elected members in governance roles, our staff and most important of all, many of our farmer members are active in helping their communities during adverse events (such as the 2015 central North Island floods) even when, as is often the case, their own farms have been directly affected by the event. The Federation commends the intent of the Bill to better enable recovery from the small and moderate emergencies that impact on New Zealand farming communities. Being in less populated areas with more widely dispersed infrastructure, these rural communities are often disproportionately affected by such emergencies.
The Federation is however concerned about the implications for these communities as the legislation imposes obligations on regional and especially, local civil defence structures, organisations where community spirit and flexibility are critical to their effective operation, values which do not sit well with the CDEM command and control focused structures. Federated Farmers recommends that all measures directed at implementing emergency (reduction, readiness, response and) recovery measures in rural communities are given careful consideration to ensure that processes and procedures are aligned with the needs and in particular, the constrained resources of local communities when they are under pressure as a result of an emergency.
Federated Farmers also believes that, given the substantive powers relating to transition periods and to the Recovery Managers within the proposed new structure, [Part 5 of the Bill] a review of these provisions should be undertaken after an appropriate time to deal with any issues or problems that have emerged. Federated Farmers requests that the compensation provisions of the bill [Section 37] be clarified to ensure farmers and businesses can be fairly compensated if they are adversely impacted by decisions made by or under the direction of an authorised person (such as a recovery manager) during a designated transition period and they have no other means of being recompensed.
Lastly, the implementation of the current CDEM is resulting in increased expectations - and responsibilities - around emergency planning (and delivery) in all “4R” areas at both regional and local levels. Federated Farmers believes that the Crown, rather than ratepayers, should cover the costs imposed on communities around the requirement to develop recovery plans in the Bill and, more generally, for the costs relating to reduction, readiness and response planning where these are incurred by individuals participating in planning activities mandated by MCDEM or their agents.