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Reading:               581 pages

Hours in meetings: 6 hours

Another light week for Council following Easter.

The main meetings were on Friday when the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group met. This committee comprises representatives from every Council in the Region – mainly the Mayors . The Minister for Civil Defence, Hon Mark Mitchell attended and made some introductory remarks before answering our questions.

He is particularly concerned with how complicated emergency management is in New Zealand having seen the results of Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary floods. The recent Port Hills fire showed him how important inter agency communication is.  With this in mind he is going to introduce a Emergency Response Bill to Parliament which will recognise a sensible chain of command, the role iwi play especially in providing support at maraes during emergencies and the need for police to have some flexibility in how they manage cordons for example.

The committee also noted the report on the White Island disaster and heard from Professor Tom Wilson on how the island is monitored and especially how some real time data is missing as people are still not able to get back on to the island to repair some damaged equipment.

This was followed by a special meeting of the Council where we discussed Total Mobility procurement. This is about public transport access for people with disabilities.

There was also a private briefing about some potentially exciting developments in the Western Bay of Plenty.