Emergency Management Bill Overview of proposed changes

This page provides an overview of the proposed changes in the Emergency Management Bill

The Government is committed to ensuring New Zealand’s emergency management system is geared towards inclusive, community-led responses to emergency events, as well as continuing work with iwi and Māori in emergency management.

The emergency management system needs changes so that:

  • communities are better prepared to respond to and recover from emergencies
  • iwi and Māori participation is recognised, enabled, and valued
  • the impacts of emergencies on people, the economy, and the environment are reduced
  • the emergency management system is well-coordinated, high-performing, and enjoys widespread trust and confidence.

An Emergency Management Bill has been introduced to replace the two decades old Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 (CDEM Act). Information about the Bill, and its progress, can be found on parliament.govt.nz.

When passed, the Emergency Management Bill will create an updated legal and regulatory framework within which Aotearoa New Zealand can prepare for, deal with, and recover from local, regional and national emergencies.

The Bill is not a fundamental transformation of the emergency management system, but instead makes practical improvements to ensure the system can meet current and future needs.

Some of the key measures in the Emergency Management Bill include:

  • clarifying roles and responsibilities across the emergency management system 
  • recognising and enhancing the role of Māori in emergency management 
  • enhancing the resilience and accountability of critical infrastructure 
  • enabling equitable outcomes for communities disproportionately impacted by emergencies 
  • improving operational effectiveness 
  • updating the legal and regulatory frameworks for the emergency management system 
  • replacing the term ‘civil defence emergency management’ with ‘emergency management’.

These measures are explained in more detail on this page.

These proposed changes will set the system up to be more responsive, and set a solid foundation for adaptations that might be required in the future.

The Bill does not change the current emergency powers available under a state of emergency, and while the Bill changes the name of ‘Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups’ to ‘Emergency Management Committees’, it does not remove the existing key local and regional roles and responsibilities.