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The CDEM Act 2002: What it means for lifeline utilities
To help make our society resilient to disasters, the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act stipulates the responsibilities and roles of key agencies. If you work in a lifeline utility this Act affects the way you carry out your continuity planning and how you relate to other utilities, emergency services, local government and New Zealand’s communities.

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What the Act says

Your utility must:

  • be able to function to the fullest possible extent during and after an emergency
  • have plans for being able to function that can be made available to the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management.

Your utility may be requested to:
  • help define the Crown’s CDEM goals and objectives in a National CDEM Strategy
  • participate in the development of a National CDEM Plan and/or regional CDEM Group plans
  • provide technical advice on CDEM issues to the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management or CDEM Groups (consortia of regional authorities and emergency services).

What this means

Your utility is expected to:

  • plan for, and be able to ensure continuity of service, particularly in support of critical CDEM activities
  • be capable of managing its own response to emergencies
  • develop plans cooperatively to coordinate across its sector and with other sectors
  • establish relationships with CDEM Groups, consistent across regions.

Will your lifeline utility meet the CDEM Act’s expectations?
Test your organisation with the following checklist. List the ways your utility’s services support New Zealanders during a major emergency? For example – “My utility supplies water to a hospital.”
Answer the following questions. Score: Yes = 2, Partially = 1, No = 0

Has your utility…
  1. Developed procedures to ensure continuity of business?
  2. Considered external risks (eg dependence upon other utilities or contractors)?
  3. Assessed risk in consultation with similar utilities, not in isolation?
  4. Considered critical CDEM customer activity when establishing priorities for service restoration (how you support rescue and triage, law and order, medical and welfare, fire-fighting)?
  5. Ensured conditional supply arrangements or contracts reflect CDEM prioritisation during emergencies?
  6. Established planning and operational relationships with regional CDEM Groups?
  7. Planned in a cross-sector manner to optimise service during emergencies?
  8. Determined how the sector communicates during an emergency?
  9. Validated planning by exercising, individually and collectively?
  10. Developed an ability to reconfigure services (continuity planning)?
  11. Established mechanisms to source damaged/lost resources?
  12. Reached sector accord over risk reduction, readiness and response strategies thus protecting the marketplace?
  13. Shared and applied examples of best practice emergency management across the sector?
  14. Sought sector accord or consensus on sustainable development of its resources?
0-10: Risk management too internally focused. Vulnerable to external risks. Weak relationships with CDEM agencies.
11-21: External risk considered. Continue to improve business resilience by strengthening external relationships and cooperative planning.
22-28: Sound risk, asset and emergency management. Cooperative planning. Continue to protect market share and add shareholder value by improving relationships and testing and reiterating plans. Publicise and capitalise on success.

Note: The above checklist and ratings are subjective examples only