Apr 12 2023

‘All in charge are put on notice’ – Chlöe Swarbrick on flood response review

Chlöe Swarbrick and Wayne Brown. Photo: Supplied

This afternoon’s damning review into the Auckland Council response to the Auckland anniversary weekend floods, which identified system failure and failures in leadership from Mayor Wayne Brown down, “puts all in charge on notice”, says Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick. In written comments, she said, “In a crisis, we need to have faith in our official systems and city-wide leadership. On Friday 27th January 2023, anecdotally and according to this report, many Aucklanders did not feel either.”

The hours and days following the tragic events revealed “what matters”, she said. “Neighbours helped neighbours. These are the systems that worked: the community. These community services need more resourcing and support from Council, not less as presently proposed in the current slash-and-burn annual budget proposals.”

Facing a “vacuum” of information on the night of January 27, Swarbrick sought updates from the mayor’s office, the council, Auckland Emergency Management and Fenz, she said. “None was forthcoming. It was only through direct communications with frontline emergency workers that I came to understand the scale and severity of these events, after which we began trying to provide clear information and liaise with grassroots supports across the city. This is an approach our team continued in the following days and weeks as Cyclone Gabrielle hit.”

Swarbrick said: “We must hear what is needed directly from the front-line – not the layers of bureaucracy that Bush’s report shows delayed Auckland’s emergency response. We cannot turn back the clock. We can take accountability, responsibility and leadership. This report puts all in charge on notice: Aucklanders must never be let down by their systems and leadership like this ever again.”

Chlöe Swarbrick and Wayne Brown. Photo: Supplied

Review into Auckland flood response released

Flooded cars near the show. (Image: supplied)

A review ordered in the wake of the Auckland anniversary weekend floods has criticised the mayor and officials for being too slow to act.

That was a claim levelled by many in the days after the January 27 disaster that left four people dead and dozens without homes.

The 107-page report determined that the response to the “unprecedented” weather event amounted to “system failure”, with communication between the mayor’s office and key officials being singled out.

“In the Auckland flood event, the problems noted above aligned to create system failure, particularly in the initial 12 hours of the emergency management response. Aucklanders did not receive the timely communications, leadership and practical support they had a right to expect in a crisis of this magnitude.”

Read our full report here

Review into Auckland flood response to be released today

Wayne Brown signing the state of emergency declaration, in a photograph provided by the mayor’s office.

The review of into Auckland Council’s response to the flooding on anniversary weekend will be released this afternoon. The review, led by former police commissioner Mike Bush, has been delayed multiple times from its original release date of March 6, in part because of another weather event, Cyclone Gabrielle.

The mayor, Wayne Brown, commissioned the review after apologising for his own initial response to the January floods, saying he’d “dropped the ball” and his communications had been too slow.

Bush is expected to front a press conference after 3pm to announce the findings and recommendations of the review panel.

The Bulletin: McCullum betting ads pulled by Google

Advertisements for a Cyprus-based betting company starring Brendon McCullum, which were in high-rotate on YouTube, have been pulled by the platform’s parent company Google. The former New Zealand cricket captain, now coach of the English Test side, was the centrepiece of 22Bet ads which prompted complaints from the NZ Problem Gambling Foundation. A spokesperson told 1News, they were “the most aggressive marketing I’ve ever seen”.

Overseas gambling operations circumvent a ban on marketing in New Zealand by placing ads on offshore digital platforms. Google told 1News it had removed the advertising, however, because it violated policies which include being licensed to operate in the place of viewership.

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The return of the ‘hermit kingdom’: Opposition wants end of forced self-isolation

National leader Christopher Luxon and Act leader David Seymour (Photos: Getty Images)

It’s been a while since we’ve heard the “hermit kingdom” description of New Zealand. It was what former prime minister John Key labelled New Zealand in an opinion piece he shopped around several media outlets during the Covid-19 delta lockdown, when he encouraged the government to move away from the lockdown approach that the government had taken over the first two years of the pandemic.

And after the government this week decided to keep our seven-day mandatory isolation for Covid-positive individuals, “hermit kingdom” is once again how the country is being described. “Retaining a seven-day mandatory Covid isolation period makes New Zealand a global oddity. It’s a kind of hermit kingdom redux, 2023 edition, where Labour keeps treating adults like kids and putting costs on the economy like money is no object,” said Act Party leader David Seymour in a press release titled “Dictatorship of academics still running Covid-19 policy”.

“These academics can work from their laptop at home. They don’t have to leave the house to earn a buck and they don’t care what costs they’re imposing on workers and small businesses with the advice they’re giving to the government,” Seymour added.

Experts have, largely, welcomed the continuation of our Covid isolation requirements. Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles, for example, in comments to the Science Media Centre said: “Rather than thinking of these as ‘restrictions’ we should welcome them as important public health measures that help reduce the transmission of Covid-19.”

Like Seymour, National’s Christopher Luxon also decried the mandatory isolation requirement, telling RNZ’s Ingrid Hipkiss that New Zealanders should be trusted to stay home when sick and then be able to return to work when they were feeling better. “Many other countries around the world have already moved on,” he said. “If you’re well and you can go to work, that’s good. We should trust New Zealanders to do the right thing.”