Science funding

Science plays a big role in north Canterbury’s recovery.

Ongoing funding for GNS Science, NIWA, GeoNet (through EQC and LIZ), the Natural Hazards Research Platform and the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge have ensured that New Zealand has world-class scientific capability to draw on.

Government made additional funding available to help with research and scientific services to support response and recovery to any significant earthquake:

  • $2 million for urgent response work including aerial and marine surveys.
  • $1.2 million of additional funding for the Natural Hazards Research Platform to conduct vital research and work to support the recovery.
  • $3 million to develop and enhance GeoNet’s natural hazards monitoring capability and response service, and to coordinate the business case for longer-term development of hazards monitoring capability.

Science helps us to understand what happened during this earthquake, how we rebuild, how we respond to future events and how we build resilience.
New Zealand is leading the world in earthquake science and our unique seismic events provide opportunities to make major contributions to international understanding in this field.

Urgent demands to have science input into recovery and build decisions emerged in the first few months of the response to the earthquake and it’s important that this work continue.

The new work funded so far includes:

  • Further landslide assessments, continuing on from work started in November.
  • Updating subsoil assessments in Wellington and assessing pre-cast concrete construction.
  • Incorporating slow-slip earthquakes and new land deformation into hazards models.

The funding also supports GeoNet - New Zealand’s official geological hazard information service - to further develop New Zealand’s hazards monitoring tools.

While GeoNet’s current monitoring and response service includes a network of automated sensors and on-call seismologists to assess data, a number of opportunities to strengthen the current response system were identified in the wake of the November 14 earthquakes.

Strengthening New Zealand’s monitoring capability could include improvements to existing infrastructure as well as research into improved sensors, models and approaches.

Early, accurate information is important for public safety and emergency response, so the government is investing to strengthen GeoNet’s ability to provide immediate and comprehensive information on earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

Short-term funding for this was reprioritised from within the MBIE Strategic Science Investment Fund, and builds on the ongoing investment in the GeoNet system by EQC and LINZ since 2001.

At Budget 2017, the Government decided to invest $19.5 million over four years in enhancing New Zealand’s earthquake, tsunami and volcano monitoring capability. This funding will enable the development of enhanced, staffed 24/7 natural hazards monitoring capability to improve New Zealand’s resilience and reduce the risk to life from tsunami, volcanoes, earthquakes and other hazards. GNS Science will deliver this through GeoNet, in collaboration with EQC, LINZ and MCDEM.