Lianne Dalziel is writing superbly on a range of topics in Newsroom …
In an article in Newsroom last week there’s lots of lessons for both bureaucracies and elected reps. It emphasises the “local”. I spoke to a former elected rep from Auckland, and they talked about their Council’s knowledge about where blockages happened in a large rain event. How they knew where those blockages were, and how they were cleared early. Those areas flooded this time.
Let us never forget that everything is local.
Here’s a few paragraphs to read:
It is worth remembering Auckland is a unitary authority where seven city and district councils merged with the regional council to form a super city, and this was the first time a state of emergency had been called.
The report highlighted the impact of this: “Prior to Auckland amalgamation, detailed plans were held at local board level and perhaps better reflected local conditions, resources, and partnerships. Some of this detail appears to have been lost when lists were revisited from a super city perspective.”
I don’t think anyone should underestimate the significance of this finding. For me, it reinforces how much centralisation can inadvertently destroy the all-important local relationships and networks that are essential in a crisis. We know this from experience. When will we ever learn?
The report identifies an incomprehensible failure to consider marae as potential civil defence centres, despite their experience in responding to community welfare needs in a range of crises throughout the country. The importance of relationships with iwi, Māori has all been documented, and yet it was ignored here.