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CDEM work with Lifeline Utilities

Lifeline utilities and CDEM
One of the requirements of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 for Lifeline Utilities is that they establish planning and operational relationships with Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups. At the heart of this relationship is for each Lifeline Utility to be able to exchange relevant risk management information and the key elements of their readiness and response arrangements.

CDEM Group planning will engage with, and include lifeline utilities. Utilities themselves are expected to achieve a level of organisation within their sector as well as individual capability.

MCDEM engages national lifeline utilities across risk-reduction, readiness, response and recovery. Typically this involves working on issues such as the development of operational response arrangements with lifeline sectors; the development national CDEM plans which directly or indirectly affect lifeline utilities; and facilitating approaches to infrastructure resilience. MCDEM also supports CDEM Groups and Lifelines Groups in their work with local lifeline utilities.

MCDEM Lifeline Utilities portfolio works closely with partner agencies such as the New Zealand Lifelines Committee, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Transport, and Treasury’s National Infrastructure Unit.

CDEM Plan development is a continuous process. CDEM Plans at Group (regional) and national levels are intended to reflect current states of preparedness and planning processes. From this, the gaps and areas where specific actions are required over a subsequent five-year period can be consciously identified. MCDEM, Lifelines Groups and CDEM Groups engage in an ongoing process that will benefit each of the participating organisations as well as meeting emergency management objectives.


The focus is on relationship management – improving understanding and mutual benefits
CDEM Groups and utilities want to know what each other’s roles are in any given emergency and how they can interact to best advantage. Before an emergency each needs to ensure that it has:
  • taken into consideration the hazards and risks that could affect their operations;
  • applied an appropriate risk management process;
  • developed and tested an effective set of operational procedures to respond to the range of foreseeable emergency events; and
  • addressed external dependencies.

Emergency planning respects commercial boundaries
This interaction to validate planning and address deficiencies occurs within the bounds of respecting confidentiality. Commercially sensitive issues are not the focus. Operationally sensitive issues such as critical failure nodes, restoration timings and constraints may be reviewed to the extent that respective utilities determine – noting that protection against disclosure is afforded under Section 83 of the CDEM Act.

Pre-event cooperative planning deliberately avoids consideration of price for service. The aim of cooperative planning for disaster management is to ensure that all marketplaces survive without undue advantage to any one or group of utilities, thus maintaining levels of competition that benefit all New Zealand consumers.

A framework for the process of engagement between lifeline utilities, Lifelines Groups and CDEM Groups is provided in - BPG 1/03 Lifelines and CDEM Planning (PDF 1.4MB).