Official Information Request - 15 August 2017

​​​​​​Sent: Monday, 14 August 2017 1:46 p.m.
Subject: TRIM: Official information request

I refer to your Official Information request of 7 August 2017 regarding natural disaster preparedness, planning, safety, resilience or evacuation specifically for homeless people, people in social or council housing, people in emergency housing, intellectually or physically disabled in assisted living, and non-English speaking or refugee communities.

I have attached some examples of guiding documents, plans and resources which support disaster planning for the groups you mention.

Rotorua Lakes Council is part of a larger Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (BOPCDEMG) incorporating  6 councils in the Bay of Plenty region. A guiding document to support those working in the BOPCDEMG is the Ministry of Civil Defence Directors Guidelines IS 13/13 –  The Ministry Civil Defence guidelines -National Welfare Services in an Emergency DGL 11/15 provides information and guidance  to CDEM staff providing support, including  basic needs of vulnerable communities and populations. A Local Welfare Committee consisting of representatives from central government agencies (including  government agencies Oranga Tamariki and MSD) and community services meet regularly to progress plans and develop processes to support a local  emergency welfare response. This includes the provision of financial assistance, emergency housing and provision of basic needs.

A key national Civil defence objective is the sharing of public education focussing on earthquake and tsunami  preparation and encouraging access to public alerting systems. Every opportunity is taken to provide this education across all communities and demographics. Every attempt is made to provide the appropriate information and advice to all residents, including those groups identified.

Rotorua Lakes Council provides a 24/7  telephone contact service and website, offering information and advice for any emergency situation to all residents.  The use of websites and social media to share Council emergency messages, although helpful for many populations, will not be accessible to all demographics. To complement use of social media the BOPCDEMG developed the attached printed resource' Disaster preparedness for People with Disabilities'. Widely distributed via Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and other community groups, this resource was developed in consultation with CCS and Disability Services as well as other interest groups and District Health Boards.

Rotorua Lakes Council provides a 'Newcomers Kit' which includes civil defence information and a fridge magnet which contains information on who to contact at Council for emergency information and updates. This resource is provided to new residents and residents gaining citizenship many of whom have English as a second language.

Council's Emergency Management Advisor delivers presentations and workshops to local social services, rest homes, NGOs, including mental health support agencies, in an effort to ensure information to assist planning and preparedness.  These workshops have included persons with both mental and physical difficulties and have been well received.

Homeless and transient people in Rotorua district are supported, where able, by social services, local churches and charities.  Many homeless are supplied with information and advice by the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), this organisation distributes civil defence information and provides welfare volunteers for civil defence. The resources held by CAB include the 'Get Ready Brochures' and personal plans (attached).

The local library is another facility frequented by many transient and homeless in Rotorua. The library offers displays and resources to support emergency planning and personal preparedness.  The library promotes national programmes such as sign language week and supports workshops for multi-cultural groups which has civil defence planning as a topic.

Increasing resilience within the more  vulnerable groups requires multi-faceted and holistic approach.  There are many avenues for sharing information and advice regarding hazards and personal preparedness and it is important that each opportunity is taken advantage of.  Progress is being made in identifying those considered vulnerable as this can be different people dependant on the event, for example those people living in apartments affected by the earthquake in Wellington recently.

The development of local policy, programmes and support services to assist the groups you highlighted will vary in delivery mechanisms and targeted outcomes but most include increased resiliency which is what reduces impact and supports quicker recovery after an emergency event.

I hope the above information helps for your story.

We are obliged to advise that you may contact the Ombudsman at the address below if you have any concerns with the response provided by Council, by writing to:

The Office of the Ombudsman
PO Box 10 152

Alternatively, you may email or use the online complaints form.​


Jean-Paul Gaston     Group Manager, Strategy
P: 07 351 8302  | M0276554415  |
A: 1061 Haupapa St, Private Bag 3029, Rotorua Mail Centre, Rotorua 3046, New Zealand​
Page reviewed: 15 Aug 2017 3:50pm