Emergency Management Bill

Age Concern New Zealand welcomed the opportunity to submit on the Emergency Management Bill

Age Concern New Zealand supports updating legislation to guide our preparation, response, and recovery from emergency events. Aotearoa has been experiencing severe weather events which are extremely challenging for people living in affected communities, as well as for the organisations responsible for responding to those events.

Older New Zealanders are a diverse, resilient, and valued part of every community. Some of the older adults in our communities will need greater support and help in an emergency, others will be amongst the helpers. Older people who are frail, have a disability or live alone may require extra help in an emergency. Some may not have whānau or friends living nearby, or they may need help to evacuate their home or get to higher ground. If injured, they are likely to take longer to recover. Older adults may not use digital technology as regularly as others, or at all. Displacement and disruption resulting from emergency events make it difficult for older adults to access healthcare, obtain medication, receive home support or have access to equipment they require.


Our recommendations

  • Create supportive environments that foster collaboration and working together, encourage people to look out for one another, and provide mutual support.
  • Use multiple methods to alert communities of an emergency event.
  • Protect and provide for older people but also recognise their strengths, the benefit of their past experiences coping with emergencies and their ability to contribute to helping others.
  • Recognise that some older New Zealanders may be disproportionately affected by emergency events.
  • Appoint a lead person for older people’s welfare in each area who can co-ordinate activity, share information and set up an ongoing network of organisations that work with older people in their local community.
  • Retain and extend a successful Community Connector model.
  • Advise communities about who to contact for emergency home repairs and link them with offers of help to clean up after an emergency.
  • Provide additional funding to superannuitants to carry out repairs to their property if they are dependent solely on their superannuation with little, if any, additional income
  • Prioritise preparedness and talking about the ‘what ifs’ for emergency events, particularly for those living alone.
  • Clear communication must take place before, during, and after an emergency event and must be clear, use simple language, and be in multiple formats and languages.
  • Ensure that timeframes and processes for processing insurance claims are fair and reasonable.
  • Provide extra funding to marae, iwi, non-government and community organisations such as Age Concerns, during the emergency event and for a time during recovery.
  • Provide free emergency management training for Māori and Pacific providers, community organisations and the not-for-profit sector who will all play a key role in any emergency response.
  • Provide free counselling for the staff of Māori and Pacific providers, community organisations and the not-for-profit sector who may experience trauma during their emergency response activities.


Emergency Management Bill
(Adobe PDF File)