News | 14 September 2016

Wellington Mayor congratulates Christchurch on its resilience plan

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has congratulated Christchurch on the launch today of its first-ever resilience plan, saying there is much the Capital can learn from Christchurch’s experiences.

Photo of the Resilient Greater Christchurch Plan Release launch document.

Christchurch and Wellington are both part of the global 100 Resilient Cities network initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation. Christchurch joined the network in 2013 and Wellington joined in 2014.

The 100 Resilient Cities network helps connect cities and global experts to develop plans to withstand social, physical and economic stresses; catastrophic events like hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods and slow-moving disasters like sea level rise, homelessness, and unemployment, which are increasing pressures of 21st century life.

Mayor Wade-Brown said there was much Wellington could learn from Christchurch’s experiences in terms of its immediate response, planning recovery and, most of all, the need to invest in resilience before disaster hits.”

“We already have a close and positive relationship with Christchurch and we intend to strengthen these ties through shared experiences and expertise as our respective plans are implemented.

“At its heart, the Christchurch Plan features connected communities that understand their risks and can participate in shaping their future. These themes are also coming through in the Wellington Plan that is being developed,” Mayor Wade Brown said.

Mike Mendonça, appointed Wellington’s first Chief Resilience Officer in October 2015, said at some point Wellington would experience a major event which would test its resilience.

“Sooner or later, but preferably later, we know Wellington is going to have a sizeable earthquake, and we know we’ll have other events like a global financial crisis. There are things we can do today that will speed recovery in the future.

“We’ve seen and heard what happened in Christchurch during and after their quakes and everyone we’ve spoken to there has been generous in sharing what they have learnt and what they would do differently.

“Our job is to listen and learn and to make sure we’re continually thinking about resilience when we’re making decisions,” Mr Mendonça said.

Wellington City is the first New Zealand council to assess all pre-1976 commercial and apartment buildings for earthquake risk and to substantially increase heritage grants to help owners deal with those risks. Wellington Water has built new reservoirs and strengthened existing ones. The Island Bay Seawall has also been reconstructed.

In 2012, Wellington's 'blue lines' project - which aims to raise community awareness on how to evacuate from an approaching tsunami - was recognised with an award from the International Association for Emergency Managers.

Wellington’s City Councillors will receive a progress report in late September. A full release is expected in February 2017.