When reflecting on responses to times of crisis in Aotearoa, you are likely to consider former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s empathetic communication following the Christchurch Mosque attacks, the Whakaari/White Island explosion or her daily Covid-19 updates. Or, former Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, in his hi-vis vest liaising with Civil Defence and first responders while calmly updating traumatised Cantabrians on the help available to them following the earthquakes of 2010-2011.
When torrential rainfall led to flash flooding across this city last month, Aucklanders were faced with a new crisis to manage. Mayor Wayne Brown declared a State of Emergency so that national emergency resources could be deployed and coordinated to assist inundated Auckland emergency services. Transport Minister Michael Wood instructed Auckland Transport to reinstate their social media transport updates to assist those stranded on roads that had turned into rivers.
Faced with the first real test of his new leadership, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins flew to Auckland at the first opportunity, holding a joint press conference with Brown, and pledging his support for Auckland’s plight. Communication also came from former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni, and Cabinet Ministers, who offered information and reassurance.
Our TV and Radio 2023 Auckland Flood Response playlist highlights the performances of local and central government during and immediately following the floods.
Alitia Lynch, Research Specialist