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Lead and support agencies

For any national security risk (or major element of such a risk), a lead agency is identified.

The lead agency is the agency with the primary mandate for managing a particular hazard or risk across the “4Rs” of risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery.

The principal reasons for having nominated lead agencies, and setting clear expectations of them, are to:

  • ensure clarity and certainty about responsibilities and leadership at a time of crisis;
  • ensure responsibilities for maintaining situational awareness and risk mitigation are assigned properly;
  • give early warning and more time for decision-making;
  • facilitate prompt response, thereby avoiding compounding damage;
  • give clarity on communications lines and the provision of necessary information;
  • have designated responsibilities for both proactive and reactive risk management.

For more information download the National Security System Handbook.

Where activities are required at national, regional or local levels, a devolved accountability model is used. For example, the Ministry of Health is the strategic lead for infectious human disease nationally, while District Health Boards are the regional lead. Maritime New Zealand is the national lead for a marine oil spill, with the regional lead being the responsibility of the affected Regional Council.

The responsibilities of a lead agency with specific regard to emergencies are set out in Section 14 of the National CDEM Plan Order 2015.

The agencies below are mandated (either explicitly through legislation or because of their specific expertise) to manage an emergency arising from the following hazards. This table is largely, although not wholly, based on Appendix 1, National CDEM Plan Order 2015.

Hazard

Lead agency at national level

Lead agency at local / regional level

Authority to manage response

Geological (earthquakes, volcanic hazards, landslides, tsunamis)

Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management

Civil Defence Emergency Management Group

Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002

Meteorological (coastal hazards, coastal erosion, storm surges, large swells, floods, severe winds, snow)

Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management

Civil Defence Emergency Management Group

Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002

Infrastructure failure

Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management

Civil Defence Emergency Management Group

Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002

Drought (affecting rural sector)

Ministry for Primary Industries

Ministry for Primary Industries

Government policy

Animal and plant pests and diseases (biosecurity)

Ministry for Primary Industries

Ministry for Primary Industries

Biosecurity Act 1993 
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

Food safety

Ministry for Primary Industries

Ministry for Primary Industries

Food Act 2014

Infectious human disease (pandemic)

Ministry of Health

District Health Board

Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 
Health Act 1956

Offshore humanitarian response

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Agency mandate and offshore network/expertise

Wild fire

New Zealand Fire Service

Rural Fire Authority 
Department of Conservation (Conservation estate) 
New Zealand Defence Force

Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 
Conservation Act 1987 
Defence Act 1990

Urban fire

New Zealand Fire Service

New Zealand Fire Service

Fire Service Act 1975

Hazardous substance incidents

New Zealand Fire Service

New Zealand Fire Service

Fire Service Act 1975

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

Support Agencies
While some risks are managed by the lead agency alone, many require the support of other government departments and agencies.

The role of support agencies is laid out in Section 15(1) of the National CDEM Plan Order 2015.

Support agencies may have statutory responsibilities and/or specific objectives of their own, which they may need to pursue in addition to, or as part of, the support that they provide to the lead agency. Sometimes, a support agency might support the lead agency simply by repurposing an existing capability.

For more information download the National Security System Handbook.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 25 August 2016

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