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Welfare provision in the CDEM environment

The term welfare means the response the CDEM sector and their welfare partner agencies will deliver to individuals, families/whanau and communities directly affected by an emergency. This includes provision of food, shelter, clothing, financial assistance, and psychosocial (psychological and social) support and extends throughout response and recovery.

Welfare response is a coordinated action undertaken by government and nongovernment social service agencies and organisations (welfare agencies) to ensure individuals, families/whanau and communities affected by an emergency have information on, and easy access to, the range of services available to or needed by them. It may include the collection and assessment of social impact information to support an appropriate social response.

Successful delivery of welfare requires prior understanding of risks and community vulnerabilities in order to adequately reduce, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

Welfare in an Emergency: Director's Guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to provide a common understanding and practical guidance about frameworks and arrangements for delivery of welfare in an emergency for organisations with Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) responsibilities.
The guideline provides assistance for CDEM Groups, their member territorial authorities and partner agencies to plan and arrange their regional and local welfare effectively.

Click here to go to the download page for the guideline and related resources.

Welfare review project
Following the Canterbury earthquakes sequence, as well as other recent civil defence experiences such as the Rena grounding, the Napier siege and the Pike River disaster, the decision was made to evaluate existing national arrangements and policies for the delivery of welfare services. MCDEM is therefore undertaking a specific project aimed at evaluating the current national framework, including the arrangements for integration of welfare delivery with other emergency response, in the light of the learning from recent events.

The project will result in a set of recommendations to the Director of Civil Defence. This may include adjustments to existing national welfare arrangements and practices if appropriate. National arrangements are the arrangements that are applicable nationally, rather than being limited to any one specific region.

The project will also be informed by a literature review of international welfare arrangements such as the Victorian bushfires and Queensland floods welfare response. Other literature that will be considered includes all available Canterbury earthquake response debriefs; all relevant legislation that defines agency mandates, roles and responsibilities; current welfare arrangements in all CDEM groups; the MCDEM-commissioned review of the February 22 response; and interviews with identified stakeholders.

Validity of the draft recommendations will be tested in a simulated desk top exercise with a number of CDEM Groups. It is expected that the final report with recommendations will be produced in July 2012.

Draft Director's Guideline: Planning for Companion Animal Welfare in an Emergency
Consultation on the draft Director's Guideline Planning for Companion Animal Welfare in an Emergency opened on 6 September 2012 for a six week period, and closed on 17 October 2012. Feedback is currently being considered and incorporated into the guideline.

The draft guideline has been developed by the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Advisory Group (NAWEM - see below). The development process has been a collaborative effort between members of NAWEM with input from Group and local CDEM representatives and other organisations with an interest in animal welfare.

The purpose of the guideline is to provide guidance to emergency management planners in the development, maintenance and review of a functional plan for companion animal emergency welfare. The guideline contains an operational structure and functional arrangements along with practical advice and templates to support the delivery of companion animal emergency welfare in New Zealand.

The guideline is intended for use by CDEM Groups and organisations with responsibilities for companion animal welfare during emergencies.

For more information please contact

National welfare arrangements
National arrangements for welfare in New Zealand are set out in Section 12 - Welfare, of The Guide to the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan, 2006. The Guide contains detailed information regarding the roles and mandates of government agencies, non-government agencies, and CDEM Groups for the provision of welfare during emergencies.

View Section 12 (pdf 100kB)

Coordinating national welfare support - the National Welfare Coordination Group (NWCG)
In 2003 the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) established the National Welfare Recovery Coordination Group (NWRCG) to oversee welfare recovery arrangements. The title of the NWRCG was replaced by the National Welfare Coordination Group (NWCG) after the making of the National CDEM Plan Order 2005.

The NWCG represents a national-level cluster of social and other agencies that together, are responsible for the strategic planning and coordination of welfare. The NWCG ensures that plans are in place to support, at a national level, the coordination and effective delivery of welfare services.
Several NWCG agencies perform primary roles for certain welfare services, supported by other agencies as required. These welfare services include:

  • Care services for children and young people
  • Psychosocial support
  • Enquiry and identity
  • Government helpline
  • Financial assistance
  • Accommodation
  • Animal welfare.
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) chairs and convenes the NWCG and is mandated to coordinate the welfare function in a state of national emergency or when effective coordination of agencies at the CDEM Group level requires national support. The Chair of the NWCG reports welfare issues to the National Controller during response. During recovery the NWCG Chair liaises with the National Recovery Manager.
Member agencies represented on the NWCG are listed in Section 12 of the Guide to the National CDEM Plan. Further responsibilities and tasks of the NWCG are outlined in the Director’s Guideline - Welfare in an emergency (see above).

National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Advisory Group (NAWEM)
The National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Advisory Group (NAWEM) was established in 2006 to provide national coordination for the management of animal welfare in emergencies. NAWEM provides advice on animal welfare emergency management to the civil defence emergency management (CDEM) sector, agencies concerned with the welfare of animals, and the emergency services.
NAWEM maintains an overview of animal welfare emergency management issues for all animals, including companion and production animals and is represented on the NWCG (see above). NAWEM supports the CDEM sector by providing strategic, technical and practical advice, and guidance on including companion animal welfare in CDEM planning.

The members of NAWEM are:
  • Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI);
  • Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM);
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand;
  • Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RNZSPCA);
  • World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA);
  • New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC);
  • New Zealand Institute of Animal Control Officers (NZIACO);
  • New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA);
  • Massey University - Institute of Veterinary Animal and Biomedical Sciences (IVABS) or Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR).
Welfare during a pandemic
The document Administrative Arrangements for Welfare Support During an Influenza Pandemic - Consolidated pandemic influenza welfare material as at April 2010 was prepared and endorsed by the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management.

Download the document (PDF 1.2MB)

This document should be used for pandemic planning in conjunction with:
  • The latest version of the New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Action Plan available at the Ministry of Health website
  • The latest Ministry of Health action plans and planning assumptions, at the Influenza 2010 web page
  • The National Health Emergency Plan (NHEP) 2008 which is the overarching document
Introduction to pyschosocial support
In early 2009, a series of workshops were presented around New Zealand by Dr Sarb Johal, from the Emergency Management Team, Ministry of Health.
The Foundations of Psychosocial Support in Emergency Management workshops included:
  • How do disasters affect people? How do the effects show themselves in people and their communities? This section examines ordinary responses to extraordinary events.
  • How can individuals and communities be assisted to help cope with the effects of disasters? An overview of the psychosocial issues and techniques involved in support, including psychological first aid, and models for community recovery
  • Taking care of yourself, your staff, and your organisation – with tips for communication with the public.
Videocasts of the workshop presentations can be viewed at:
An analysis of the evaluation forms completed by attendees of the workshops is presented in this summary report (doc).

See also a June 2009 article (pdf) published in the New Zealand Medical Journal addressing psychosocial issues due to quarantine for infectious disease, such as pandemic (H1N1) 2009.

For further guidance on coping with the impact of an emergency see the Stress and Response factsheets.