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Take Care Auckland and Northland

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 pm, January 27th, 2023 - 129 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster - Tags: ,

Heavy rain has caused severe flooding in Auckland, leading to evacuations, power outages, and high risk warnings of sewerage on beaches. More rain is expected overnight.

People are being urged to stay home if safe, and stay off the roads. Please also check on neighbours and people who may be struggling especially disabled people, elderly, those on their own, and those with young children and pets.

From RNZ’s live feed

More than 1000 calls for assistance

This just in from Fire and Emergency NZ:

Aucklanders are being urged to only call 111 if life is in danger tonight, as Fire and Emergency deals with an increasing number of calls for help with flooding.
Fire crews are dealing with over 1000 calls for assistance, but many of these relate to flooded property. Crews are prioritising calls where people are in danger and need to be rescued.
Counties Manukau District Manager Brad Mosby says that when people phone with non-urgent requests for help with flooding, it stops people who urgently need help from getting through.
He is also strongly urging people to stay home and only drive if the trip is absolutely essential.
Fire and Emergency is working closely with our emergency services partners, Police and St John, as well as the NZ Defence Force and Auckland Emergency Management.
We have a number of The Standard authors and quite a few regular commenters who live in Auckland. Hope you are all staying safe until things settle down and the clean up can begin.
UPDATE: a State of Emergency has been declared in Auckland.

129 comments on “Take Care Auckland and Northland ”

  1. weka 1

    advice from North Shore Councillor Richard Hills.

  2. Anne 2

    Its calmed down a bit now. The rain radar has the worst of the rain moving away from Auckland. Fortunately the "severe thunderstorms" have stayed out at sea. Am I tempting fate? 😮

    Edit: the harbinger of possible bad news. There’s another system of tropical origin waiting in the wings, and it looks like it may hit the North Island on Tues. and Wed. of next week.

  3. Cricklewood 3

    Been amazing really have never seen rain like it… ironically Metservice have issued a red warning after the worst has passed.

    I'm in Mount Eden so relatively elevated even then I've had to move my car to higher ground. Up the road a bit cars are almost completely covered and houses inundated. My gauge has 260ish mm for today 170 of that in 2 hours.

    Basically Fjordland numbers

    • weka 3.1

      That's a lot more than was forecasted? I'm guessing the delay in cancelling the Elton John concert was partly because they didn't realise how bad it was getting?

      • Belladonna 3.1.1

        Maybe. But by 4pm, it was evident that there was serious flooding across much of Auckland – and no sign that the rain was about to let up.
        They should have called it off then (if not earlier).

        • weka

          Yeah, I was listening to Checkpoint in the car and was surprised they were talking about transport to the concert issues. I suspect there will be a fair bit of reviewing of process in the coming week.

          • Belladonna

            Yes. Letting the call come from the company putting on the concert may not be the best solution. There's a heck of a lot of economic pressure for them to let the concert go ahead, rather than refund tickets.

      • Cricklewood 3.1.2

        Yes although it had been very wet already and the rain radar was pretty clear on the incoming. I bailed out from West Auckland about 3 30 as could see how bad it was going to be… driving out it was kind of like driving into a fire hose.

  4. weka 4

    replaced your img vid with a tweet of the same thing. Not a fan of auto play.

    (don't know why it as a content warning).

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      I copied and pasted image address. Why have the image function if you don't like it?

      Now it looks like I've posted something dodgy. Thanks for that.

      • weka 4.1.1

        you posted an mp4 file in the tags, not an image file. I don't know why it autoplayed, but I have to monitor the conversation and it does my head in having flashing things.

        Now it looks like I've posted something dodgy. Thanks for that.

        Only for people that can't read. I said the replacement was the same.

  5. weka 5

  6. weka 6

  7. Quote from Wayne Brown on RNZ

    "8.13pm: "We need the rain to stop, that's the main issue," Auckland mayor Wayne Brown told RNZ."


    Possibly not a terribly helpful contribution…. /sarc/

  8. Rather an ironic tweet and image….

    • observer 8.1

      Sums it up, really. Critiquing "3 waters", fine.

      But having literally no alternative policy to deal with what everyone knows needs to be done … not fine.

      (Unless National's policy is "leave it all to councils because that's working so well". Absent any other information, that seems to be their position).

      • Mike the Lefty 8.1.1

        That photo should be delivered to every household so that they know their future under National.

  9. weka 9

  10. observer 10

    There's obviously more to the job than media statements, but given that many Auckland councillors and MPs were onto it during the day, the mayor's long silence for hours was not good enough.

    But not surprising.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 10.1

      He said it was "not my job to rush out with buckets".

      And also, apparently….

      Mayor Wayne Brown has shut down criticism that he was too slow in declaring a state of emergency after severe flooding in Auckland.


      Well…yeah. How exactly has he shut down anything? By expounding he's not carrying… buckets?

      I suppose we will see the timeline for Mayor Browns…decision

    • joe90 10.2


      • weka 10.2.1

        being at the other end of the country, I hadn't quite grasp just how bad MB is until I listened to that interview with Kim Hill. He's Trump level incompetent.

        • Incognito

          Classical deflection and diversion (aka whataboutery) to someone else who is ‘clearly’ even less competent and thus inferior and who allegedly has or will screw up even worse. Avoiding responsibility and refusing to demonstrate leadership in difficult times in word if not in action. A coward who blames others before anything and when the going gets tough he/she goes quiet and invisible.

          Luxon-come-lately also added his 2 cts.

          It was officially declared at 9.54pm.

          The opposition leader, Christopher Luxon, tweeted moments later, calling for an emergency to be declared.


          • weka

            Coward seems as good a descriptor as any. I wonder how many of those that voted for him have changed their opinion.

            • Incognito

              Let’s just hope that Auckland won’t face any other major disasters during Brown’s ‘tenure’ although this is likely wishful thinking crying

              Who you gonna call?


              • Ghostwhowalksnz

                Any reflections on Goffs 'announceables' during the hurricane force windstorm Auckland had 4-5years back ?



                Apparently severe thunderstorms warnings are common, but dont rate as emergencies until too late

                Gotta catch those politicians out on their optics. There are people flooded out of homes , or landslips have made them unliveable….but the optics are all that matters to some

                I was out during the heavy rain checking some kerb drains that I knew blocked with leaves etc and flooded neighbours garages.
                What about you… watching the optics on social media ?

                • Incognito

                  What about Goff … Seriously??

                  Brown ghosted Aucklanders, which you should know something about. He is a walking PR disaster, which is ‘unfortunate’ since PR is a big part of his job.

                  FYI, I was cowering under the bed keeping the cat company, the soggy moggy. That good enough for you? Or should I have done something more heroic to earn bragging rights here? Did you not get enough ‘likes’ on Social Media when you showed off you virtue-signalling and posted your selfies? Talking about frigging optics here, FFS!

                  • Ghostwhowalksnz

                    So you did nothing to check on neighbours….OK. if that was beyond your means to do so , thats fine .

                    Wouldnt want you to be 'out of depth' Sorry if my use of quotes doesnt follow your style guides .

                    Youre a media -sphere person, so the optics matters to you, which is why the political pros play it for all its worth , as thats their real target audience

                    • weka

                      not everyone was in an area that was badly affected, so maybe we could tone down the oneupmanship.

                    • Incognito

                      You’re making assumptions again and making up BS again too.

                      Neighbours were fine – we are in contact by, you guessed it, Social Media, as you do in a rural area. Thanks for asking. The road home was very treacherous on Friday afternoon with lots of road closures and D-tours – almost impossible to get home in time. The local Council weather station had registered already 148 mm of rain by 15:00 pm on Friday 27 Jan.

                • weka

                  Apparently severe thunderstorms warnings are common, but dont rate as emergencies until too late

                  that needs changing. We don't get thunderstorms like that down here, but I've lived in rural areas where when it floods there aren't a bunch of firefighters and CD people there to help you out. So the warnings are taken more seriously. I heard Checkpoint going on about the EJ concert at a point when I was already thinking shit, people shouldn't be going out in that. There's some education to be done, but people also need to wake the fuck up about the climate crisis and what that means for bit weather events.

                  Gotta catch those politicians out on their optics. There are people flooded out of homes , or landslips have made them unliveable….but the optics are all that matters to some

                  Dunno who you are referring to, but I saw politicians on Fri on twitter doing a lot of important information sharing as well as pushing the mayor to sort his shit out.

          • newsense

            Jane Patterson on RNZ criticizes Hipkins for allowing Brown to take centre stage. Then the main tweet in the article is Luxon calling for the state of emergency. Kind of stunning BS.

            Gordon Campbell noticed something similar with Luke Malpass on Stuff only providing Luxon’s Ratana speech and not Hipkin’s.

        • George

          WB is a National puppet. It became very obvious to Auckland today. And he is not an effective leader. We don't need him. He's just another council department which needs to have it's budget removed pronto. Because it's doesn't deliver anything .

          • newsense

            He’s worse than that though.
            They obviously thought they could get what they wanted out of him, but we’re going through a period of immense tests and the 90s sloganeering of first burn the infrastructure, so taxpayers/ratepayers get discounts, while having a sherry and a snooze just won’t cut it.

            It’s an indictment on both parties not to have found a leader of stature to replace Goff. A long time local MP, senior figure in national government, respected on the international stage and across partisan lines and a basically capable guy who builds contact with people and his own knowledge. I guess we were lucky he wanted to take us on as a retirement gig.

    • Shanreagh 10.3

      Yes I mean 'who'd thunk this guy' would have been such a failure!

      Was following on Twitter until 1.00am and there were many calls throughout the afternoon & early evening calls for the Mayor to declare a state of Emergency. Councillor Hills thankfully was there and holding the place togther with help from several other councillors, Jo Bartley and local Labour MPs.

  11. Mike the Lefty 11

    Some pictures from other media sources I saw from yesterday were quite hard to believe. It seems that every tropical cyclone is making a beeline for NZ these days, picking up huge amounts of water from the warming oceans and dumping it down on northern areas in particular.

    We can admire the skills and efforts of our Civil Defence people in such times.

    • Belladonna 11.1

      The river of water flowing across SH1 on the North Shore around Esmonde Rd was incredible. Ran from the land side – filling the lane heading North; cascaded over the hard barrier and filled the lane heading South; then cascaded over the hard barrier, filling the bus lane – and swamping buses still trying to get through (water coming in the doors)

      • Mike the Lefty 11.1.1

        Hell, I drive buses myself. I can only imagine how scary that would have been if I had been driving there. Hope you and your family stay safe.


        • Belladonna

          Had a friend on one of the buses affected – and saw the videos shared on social media afterwards. She said she wasn't as scared at the time, as she was in retrospect.
          And their bus got through – some others got swamped, and the passengers had to walk (I believe, though this is about 4th hand).
          But, I'm sure the bus driver (knowing more) was a lot more scared at the time.

          Our family, and my work colleagues are all OK. Some swamped basements and garages – and I've been helping document and clear out all morning. Gotta photograph everything for the Insurance people, before we can start hauling away ruined stuff.

    • weka 11.2

      the stats are mind challenging too.

  12. lprent 12

    Dropped my neice back to Parnell last night after a visit to our apartment. It was at 1845. The weather was pretty bad, but i didn't want her to walk back.

    There was a reasonable puddle on Newton Road at the start of the bridge at which some tenative drivers alerted me to fact that urban drivers don't know to ford small streams.

    At Constitution Hill, it became clear that the storm water system was under stress. The springs jumping several feet in the air from storm the storm water covers were a hint. As were the cars coming off the motorway in the water.

    Little Honda Fit RS hybrid sailed down the St Georges Bay river with minor issues. I got a IMA warning when the wake started getting up on the bonnet. Passed a truck and bus plus several cars while in the river who hadn't made it.

    Came back on a different route that avoided low lying rivers roads. Still found a large puddle at the top of the Karangahape Road with the urban drivers on the shallow right side. Made it easy to bypass the queue with a bit of water driving.

    It made for an interesting evening even before going to a discussion about the Mt Albert electorate selection. I'm kind of anxious to avoid the electoral disaster that was the Mt Albert party vote in the 2014 election. Need another decent candidate who understands actual politics.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 12.1

      Little Honda Fit RS hybrid sailed down the St Georges Bay river with minor issues. I got a IMA warning when the wake started getting up on the bonnet. Passed a truck and bus plus several cars while in the river who hadn't made it.

      Far out ! They should put aqua option on the Car Reviews : )..

      Good to hear you navigated well…..And safe

      • lprent 12.1.1

        Finally got around to looking at the Fit yesterday morning after I parked it in the garage. It was damp on the floor behind the drivers seat. I guess that I need to get the drivers size rear door seals looked at. But it was pretty minor considering that the water was half-way up the door.

        The power for my apartment browned a few times during late friday evening. The only reason I know is because the uninterruptible power supplies on the servers clicked on to cover the brownouts.

        • PsyclingLeft.Always

          Well, even with some damp on floor…that is a pretty amazing vehicle ! Can you dry carpet area? Heater at some stage,or similar. Maybe when Sun back with doors open…

          And re your power…we just seen the Standard still….On ! Thanks and good on you : )

  13. Ad 13

    In Titirangi my power is out, water out, 3 houses destroyed, local lifeguard building gone, neighborhood can't get cars out with multiple native trees over road.

    Got bottled water from shop.

    Our house ok.

  14. Ad 14

    O weather fates gifting a month of media cycle to Prime Minister Hipkins and Deputy Sepuloni.

    Get in there with the sandbags and Unimogs and compassion Cabinet.

    • Graeme 14.1

      O weather fates gifting a month of media cycle to Prime Minister Hipkins and Deputy Sepuloni.

      A month? More like a year at least, With the wash up from the debacle at Auckland airport last night, AT's non delivery and then the mayor…

      The airport schemozzle will have pissed a few airlines, and a lot of passengers, off. Will cost a bit of money and peoples time to get everyone where they should be. Might be a few questions asked about New Zealand's ability to receive ULH flights when there isn't enough diversion capacity.

      • weka 14.1.1

        Did overseas flights get turned back?

        • Belladonna

          Some did – a couple turned back to point of origin – at least one to Dubai – others to the US.
          Those on final (i.e. a couple of hours out) were diverted to Christchurch – which is standard practice.


          • Mike the Lefty

            I was told by a workmate yesterday that people on flights diverted to Christchurch who elected to stay in Christchurch weren't allowed to leave the airport for hours because they were insufficient customs services available to process them. Eventually common sense took over, thankfully.

            • Belladonna

              Sounds as though the coms at Auckland Airport could also have been better.


              There seems to be a structural failure in the relationship between the airport and individual airlines – with passengers caught in between.

              We've seen this with the baggage-non-delivery issue; and now, again, with the airport closures.

            • Graeme

              There's a lot of people to get on site to process an international arrival. Christchurch airport did an amazing job handling the situation. It was about 10x the normal Friday evening workload. They also found hotel beds for everyone, which would have been a lot of hotel housekeeping staff hauled out of the pub on Friday night, major effort by Christchurch hospo sector there. And no grizzles in the media.

              From the pov of passengers all this would take a bit of time and passengers progress through the process would be managed to keep things orderly. If it wasn't orderly it'd be all over the media by now.

              The number of passengers wanting to stay in Christchurch would have been considerable, most passengers off the ex US and Canada flights would have been transiting through AKL to Christchurch and Queenstown anyway. Hopefully airlines wake up and start to route flights Christchurch. United is coming back in March but Air NZ should be doing it as well.

              I'd hate to see AIA have to deal with a similar situation, say an ATC outage over eastern Australia (happened a couple of times recently around the world) and flights from Americas, Pacific and Asia are diverted into NZ.

        • Graeme

          Yeah, Auckland Airport was closed from 5:40 when an Air New Zealand 777 took out a runway light and put debris all over the runway. Shortly after the roofs of the international and domestic terminals hit water run-off capacity and the terminals flooded. Game over for the airport. So every flight after that had to divert, and right across the airport's busiest time for international.

          Some early evening flights diverted to Christchurch and Wellington but both quickly ran out of ramp and hotel capacity so there were diversions to Australia and a lot of flights turned back. A couple of ULH had 13 hour flights to nowhere

          Not a terribly good look at multiple levels and the only certainty is that it’s going to happen much more frequently and severely

    • Sanctuary 14.2

      Well let's be honest, it is a pretty battle hardened government when it comes to crisis management.

      • Ad 14.2.1

        Yes agree both Labour government and public service are crisis-fit.

        Also a regrettably useful precursor to the Prime Ministers' re-set next week + reshuffle.

  15. Dean Reynolds 15

    So Mayor 'fix it' Brown just sat on his arse until 10 pm before declaring a state of emergency – what a dick head.

  16. observer 16

    Historians, please check: has any PM ever given a press conference at 2 am before? I don't think Hipkins can be accused of being "asleep at the wheel", as the old cliche goes.

    I live in central Auckland, and our stormwater system is called Queen St. The water was flowing down the gully last night, which was fine for those of us on the higher ground but a nightmare for those in the CBD.

    The drains couldn't cope, but we've all known that for years. They can barely cope with a light shower.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 16.1

      Stormwater drains are designed for a 1 in 20 yr rainfall max, and then the overland flow is back system ,again by design.

      Not 1 in 150 years rainfall

      The Council GIS maps will normally show the flood hazard areas, but most people never consider that when living next to a stream or at the low point of a gully ( with the drains hidden underground)

  17. observer 17

    Press conference just now: Wayne Brown being …well, Wayne Brown. So thin-skinned, losing his temper at reporters, and making it all about himself and how well he did.

    Poor Hipkins had to tread a very diplomatic line, distancing himself from Brown while saying all the required things about central gov't and local working together. "I'm nothing to do with this guy and I wish he'd shut up" … not said out loud, only in body language.

    • observer 17.1

      • Maurice 17.1.1

        That is one picture. The entire live stream here:


        At times PM Hipkins is nodding in agreement with Major Brown.

        Have worked in EMCD during earthquakes and the initial process is sure and certain but takes a little time. The Police spokesman there confirmed that the Emergency was declared as soon as asked for.

        Don't let politics and dislike blind us to the reality that response takes time and planning – the locals were ready and deployed early in the afternoon

        • observer

          Hipkins was hardly going to stand there and publicly criticise Brown, was he?

          Brown was very poor in that press conference, as anyone can see. The PM deflected every Q about the mayor's performance, which spoke volumes.

          You'd have to be "blinded by politics" not to see what everyone else has.

          • Maurice


            Depends which eye is open!

            • observer

              Nobody on the political Right has gone into bat for Wayne Brown on this. Not Luxon, not anybody from the opposition. It's across the board. (Feel free to cite any examples to the contrary, I've seen none).

              So both eyes are wide open. The left one and the right.

              • roblogic

                The muppets just voted Brown tribally without watching any of the debates – he was clearly out of his depth, and still is.

                Thread demonstrating the absolute pigheadedness of WB voters.

              • Maurice

                Where has all the kindness gone?

                She is Desley Simpson currently the Deputy Mayor

                Everyone in Auckland needs our support at the moment

          • newsense

            You have to be more than blinded by politics to think Brown is remotely the man for this job.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 17.1.2

        LOL…..oh to know what the PM was thinking. (we can guess : )

        Edit..That could be a good Caption competition !

    • Ovid 17.2

      Wayne Brown is clearly incompetent. I wonder how long it will be before commissioners are appointed.

    • Incognito 17.3

      It was a shocker! Waiting for/hiding behind the professional people and suggesting that perhaps there were too many Council spokespeople! AFAIK, there is only one Mayor and he was MIA. It doesn’t matter that he was ‘at his desk’ from 4 pm on Friday, that he was in contact with some staff, that he didn’t have the whole picture. FFS, it was a rapidly escalating natural disaster and emergency situation that at least required a cool figurehead to be present calming, informing, and advising as and when possible, at the very least. Was he waiting for his Advisory Team to get the whole picture too and write his lines?

      Edit: an AI bot would have done a better job!

    • George 17.4

      Wayne Brown…bug eyed and making excuses.. because that's what you do, when you are literally out of of your depth.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 17.4.1

        Hes an engineer . I would say hes less out of his depth than you are for everyday tasks

        Its just a standard media question answer game, for Stuff especially as hes ignored them from before the election so they use him as a football

        'What did you know and when did you know it'

        • arkie

          He's an engineer. I would say he is assured that he knows everything about everything (spoken as a partner of an engineer)

          Dealing with the media, communicating with the public, leading responsively are a significant part of his current role, especially in times of crisis. If you aren't prepared to do this then you may be in the wrong job.

          Acting defensively to legitimate concerns is generally considered a 'bad look'.

        • Incognito

          He studied at Auckland Uni for a couple of years more than 50 years ago. How does that prepare him (better) for everyday tasks and life and especially for Auckland Mayoralty? Do you believe your own nonsense? If yes, what did you study, when, and where?

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            So do you think what people study 50 years is all the lifes experience they have ?

            A friend who was a university pyschologist for the Student health , said it was one of the more difficult courses , and most students couldnt do it even if their life depended on it

            • Incognito

              I think that Astrophysics is the best preparation for life on the ground. Brown is giving engineers a bad reputation; he’s more like a dentist because it’s like pulling teeth with Dr Brown. BTW, did that university psychologist see many engineering students or is that private confidential information?

              Tell us more about your life experience as an engineer. Are you good a building & mending bridges, selling (10) bridges, or burning bridges? Or is that a bridge too far? I’m just trying to bridge the divide between your nonsensical comments so far.

              • Ghostwhowalksnz

                It wasnt 'personal confidential' information at all. Surely you know something about when it is personal and a general statement about students. Also got told some other general comments , that werent linked to names, about others who present to psychologists.

                But I get you were just sniping at me with falsehoods , as is your style

                It seems you are a frustrated keyboard warrior who typically have no real world experience about what they beat the drums/blow the bugle over

                • Incognito

                  You didn’t answer the question, did you? No surprise there. Never mind, it was not that important.

                  I made an assumption about you to hold up a mirror to you, but you missed it, as expected.

                  You keep bleating on about things such as ‘life experience’ and ‘real world experience’. Please, tell us more about those critical qualities that you know so much about that you can judge others from your keyboard and tell them they are lacking severely, in your opinion.

                  BTW, many people are frustrated at present and you are showing your banality.

        • joe90

          Hes an engineer

          His bio says he graduated in 1967 with a BE. I checked the Gazette lists I could find and he was registered in 1972. By 1991 his registration had lapsed so it's likely he's not practiced in >30 years.



          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            Note the 'Registered Engineer' role disappeared many decades ago and it became a different method of setting equivalent status as Chartered Engineer or even in many cases Councils run their own register of approved engineers who may or may not be chartered

            he had his own construction and development business

            Still an owner of a 'Brown Consulting', and yes cant sign documents as a chartered engineer. But dont have to for a consulting role

            Plus he was called in to run the Auckland Power Board after the power blackouts 25 years ago

            Plus he was made Chairman of a couple of Health Boards during the Clark years because of his fixit reputation

            Far North mayor as well.

            But you know all this from his bio

        • newsense

          Just because he understands the reasons a ball goes for six doesn’t make him the guy I’d want captaining the Black Caps.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            I meant it in the terms of a professional politician who knows all the PR but not much else

            • Incognito

              You continue to miss the point. Wayne Brown is a typical technocrat hiding behind ‘facts & figures’. He sucks at PR and communication despite all his ‘life experience as an engineer’. If anything, being an ‘engineer’ is not working in his favour and he’s giving engineers a bad reputation.

              You seem to imply that other (??) ‘professional’ politicians know nothing but PR and have no relevant life experience and only W. Brown has it, in spades allegedly, but he won’t be rushing out with a bucket, waiting at his desk to get the ‘full fucking picture’. Yeah, right!

  18. Ffloyd 18

    Just listening tonAuckland Deputy Mayor. …Why isn’t she the Mayor? Right on it and comments were clear and concise. She did say in reply to Lisa question that things could have been done better and more quickly. Honest as well.

    • Dean Reynolds 18.1

      She's Peter Goodfellow's wife

    • Ad 18.2

      She entertained a campaign for Mayor but in reality she's the Number 2 in that relationship and Mr Goodfellow is always Number 1. Mayors on that scale have no capacity for being Beta to the Alpha.

  19. Ad 19

    Still no power, no water, no broadband.

    Plenty have lost a lot more than the fridge.

  20. Busway becomes a waterway…

  21. SPC 21

    To do


    power and water (drinking and wastewater) services restores everywhere

    Distribution into Auckland (replacement)


    Sticker, not habitable and redeemable.

    Organising work to do the latter

    Insurance (and assistance for those without it)

    quick payouts

    Temporary shelter

    those houses with land for tents and camper vans (using household power, kitchen and toilet/shower) or buddying up with those offering to help out.

  22. Time to replace Brown with a Commissioner – I wonder if Ms Ardern is available?

    • Ad 22.1

      With Civil Defence command handed to central government, Hipkins has temporarily taken over Auckland anyway. Auckland Council will be spending its budget just cleaning up for the next three years, like most other councils north of Hastings.

      Even Hipkins must be starting to entertain government control of Auckland Airport given the degree of national risk to the entire economy that failure and shutdown now entails.

      For two days the only way out of Auckland was not by air or road, but by sea. So one can imagine what Hipkins will consider entertaining of Auckland Council really tries to sell Ports of Auckland.

      Good to see the risk of 36% of a country's population and 40% of its GDP fully realised to central government in 2 days.

      The review of this mess is going to be real fun in Wellingtonland.

      • Nationalisation of Auckland Airport makes a whole lot of sense until you look at the infrastructure upgrades required

        • Graeme

          Nationalisation of Auckland Airport makes even more sense when you look at the infrastructure deficit that privatisation has brought.

          From their behaviour it looks like the only way they can raise the capital required to sort that deficit is to crush all the other international airports in the country. fortunately Christchurch had the capacity to take most of the flights in the air on Friday night.

          The country needs an integrated airport strategy and AIA's monopolistic behaviour is working to defeat that.

  23. Looks as though it wasn't just Brown who was failing to communicate effectively.


    Wood had to tell WK to get back on the air and continue to communicate ongoing road closures and diversions.

    AT had huge gaps in their coms – setting aside their appalling recommendation to drive to the Elton John concert. There was little, if any, information communicated on local roads being impassable – even when this was reported to them.

    Auckland emergency management basically went silent for several hours.

    Our local Councillors did their absolute best (Richard Hills was the stand-out on the Shore) – but had little official information to work with.

    Some of the 'advice' was poorly thought through – clearly a standard communication package, not adjusted for the conditions of the actual emergency (our local emergency evacuation site, was itself affected by flooding – but was still the 'official' site people were told to go to, for several hours).

    Hundreds of people were logging into local Facebook sites – hoping for information ('stuck at Elton John – how can I get back to the Shore'; 'flooded out – where can I go'; 'trying to get home, which local roads are flooded/impassable'; elderly lady living alone – water coming into the house – no response from emergency, what do I do!', etc.

    Our community was incredible – offers of assistance across the board – wherever people could make a local difference (opening homes to people flooded out; towing cars from floodwater; pulling people and pets out of flooded houses; digging trenches to divert stormwater from vulnerable people; offering babysitting services – so the kids would be warm and dry, while the parents tried to save what they could, etc.). And, while a lot of that is just communities pulling together – much could have been made a lot easier by official communications and reliable information.

    I believe that a review is standard, after every CD emergency declaration, and this one should have quite a number of recommendations to make.

    Yes, Brown needs to be held up to scrutiny for his poor performance. But, he's not the only one.

    • Ad 23.1

      Surely we are at the point where AT is absorbed into NZTA to provide unified operational command across both highway and public transport operations. There's been way too many 'surprises' and non-coordination of announcements over too many years.

      Just leave Auckland Council with libraries, parks and local regulation.

      • Mike the Lefty 23.1.1

        Perhaps as well as "Three Waters" we need "Three Transports" – air, rail and road?

        Seriously though, I don't think I would want NZTA to oversee everything because they seem to structure all planning around the dubious assumption that slowing everything and everyone down equals safer roads. If they had their way every road in NZ would have a 30km/hr speed limit, regardless of the road rage this would initiate.

      • Belladonna 23.1.2

        Given that neither AT nor NZTA were exactly stellar examples of communication – I can't see the benefit in this instance.

        Certainly, AT seem to already have the 'left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing' thing going on internally. We regularly have projects where they've failed to co-ordinate the different elements, and time and money is unnecessarily wasted. Perhaps this is more obvious at a local level (you notice your local roundabout being dug up for the third time in a year); whereas NZTA's blunders are a bit more remote.

        Unless you're proposing that all roading across NZ national and local, comes under a single umbrella – which has pros and cons of its own.

    • Muttonbird 23.2

      My initial fear was Brown was reluctant to call a state of emergency because of the cost. I say that because his campaign and premiership is defined by cost cutting and having his council do the bare minimum and less. I also considered Brown had begun or threatened to strip AEM of support and funding.

      Hopefully the review will show that not to be the case.

      • Mike the Lefty 23.2.1

        The political right always think of the monetary cost of doing anything first before they worry about the human cost.

        That is what we would have had if they had been power during the COVID epidemic.

        Borders remaining open until it was too late to make a difference, no mandates for public gatherings. Freedom! – at the cost of many more thousands of lives.

        People should remember the dithering and half-arsed Key government response to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

        • Maurice

          That did not affect the local "on-the-ground" Christchurch response at all. Local CDEM volunteer groups were gathering supplies and preparing to open Resource Centers well before the Emergency was declared. As soon as the Quake struck we knew that action would be required and were ready to go immediately. Far easier to stand down and pack away than ramp up from scratch. The training prior had emphasied this

          Were told that for up to three days we would be on our own with emergency services fully extended elsewhere. We coped as a volunteer service.

      • Shanreagh 23.2.2

        Thankfully we have the timetable from Stuff.

        I am sure cost, fear and a bit of 'yelling at (rain) clouds' had an impact.

        I have not been able to find any info about what costs would be triggered if an emergency was declared? Having seen a couple of emergencies called in WLG it seems to be a way to access more skilled people with knowledge as well as central funding and help from the Coordination Centre under the Beehive.

        It formalises the role of emergency services from being able to 'advise' to one of being able to 'instruct'. While civil defence and other skilled people will already be working in the communities it does also formalise the opening up of Civil Defence centres, as at schools etc, and warns those of us on telephone/text ‘trees’ that this is the real thing.

        Surely councils have funds/insurance to cover calling an emergency?

        I think the time the emergency was called is one thing but of more concern is that there was radio silence from Cncl & Mayor for about 4 hours. Texts and using every other comms channel, with reassuruance, where to contact, who to contact etc would have made a great difference in showing the situation was being monitored.

        I know empathy is not innate. Surely where it is not innate people, inc Mayors, need to accept the need to have other ways to cover it……advisors etc saying "Hey boss …." Or are his advisors, both personal and council afraid of the air of vindictiveness that seems to bubble so close to the surface with this mayor? Afraid that this gaze might be turned on them?

        Thankfully this did not seem to affect several of the Councillors, who in the absence of anything opted to get out and fill the void Hartley. Hills, Fairey.

        Does anyone know about the finance angle relating to calling an emergency?

        • Maurice

          Remember that s**t always happens faster that it can be fixed … or even responded to!

          As to financing:

          The provisions for Government financial support to local authorities relating to emergencies apply whether or not there is a state of emergency.

          For Mayors or a person delegated in the Mayor’s absence, does the emergency affect more than one district? If so, have you contacted the CDEM Group person authorised to declare a state of emergency for the CDEM Group area to see if they plan to declare a state of local emergency for the Group area?

          It is a considered process that takes a little time and must follow the Act

          Here is a link to CDEM pdf that this comes from regarding declaration of a civil emergency;


          Declaring a state of local emergency provides for Controllers to direct and coordinate personnel, material and other resources made available and provides access to extra-ordinary powers to deliver an effective and timely response to an emergency. Even when the tests below in the Act are met, there is an element of judgement about if a state of emergency should be declared. However, if access to extra-ordinary powers is required, such as requiring an evacuation, a state of emergency should be declared.

          A declaration can only be made if all the tests in the Act are met.

          1. Does it appear to you that an emergency has occurred or may occur within the area?
          2. Is the situation an emergency as defined in the CDEM Act 2002?

          Isit: • The result of a happening, whether natural or otherwise including, without limitation, any explosion, earthquake, eruption, tsunami, land movement, flood, storm, tornado, cyclone, serious fire, leakage or spillage of any dangerous gas orsubstance, technological failure, infestation, plague, epidemic, failure of or disruption to an emergency service or a lifeline utility, or actual or imminent attack or warlike act; and

          • Causes or may cause loss of life or injury or illness or distress or in any way endangers the safety of the public or property in New Zealand or any part of New Zealand; and

          • Cannot be dealt with by emergency services or otherwise requires a significant and co-ordinated response? The approval of the Minister for Emergency Management is required for any declaration of a state of local emergency related to COVID-19 matters (s68(6)). This is to ensure that a nationally consistent approach continues to be taken to COVID-19. Talk to your NEMA Regional Emergency Management Advisor (REMA) if you think you may need to make such a declaration.

    • Herodotus 23.3

      Still waiting on my CD txt message, why do we have these test txts from CD ? When the time for it was on Friday, and nothing. Should that not be 1 of the first actions and did anyone ask has a warning been issued and txt ?

      The time that Brown did call it – many would not have been aware of the severity and impact. From my observations Auckland wide received the rainfall, no area escaped – not every area was effected the same, and who knew that so many roads were impassable – On hearing what was happening (before any alert) our family was quite dispersed and we all agreed on staying put where we were, a decision based on common sense without any official announcements. Thru a TOTAL review has to occur

      • Belladonna 23.3.1

        I believe (though this is based on a radio interview with Councillor Richard Hills on RNZ – that I now cannot find) – that the failure of the Civil Defence alert system to be triggered is one of the things which will be reviewed.

        • Maurice

          During emergencies the digital communication services often get over loaded and over capacity due to all and sundry using them with a flood of emergency services calls being swamped by people contacting each other to check safety and where they are and what to do.

          Also Cell Towers get put out of action slowing (or even stopping) service.

          The old copper lines seem to keep going as the phones are line powered and the lines have survived many years of bad conditions – just about gone now though.

          The Land Line and CB radio kept Christchurch in contact after the Quakes for instance as Cell Towers stopped working and batteries went flat. Though Cell Towers are now supposed to have back up generators.

        • Herodotus

          We see great individual endeavours – people acting without taking into account the danger that exists – Those policeman apprehend the Christchurch Terrorist, many instances of going into the water to rescue those in distress, cases this weekend of those giving to assist/save people in need- See a need/danger and act. we are great at a micro/individual level but at a macro level ??

          Yet when we have time to scope, design, test, modify, implement etc systems to take into effect in times of distress, these same systems fail. To Maurice below – Should not the design take into account of such situations. We were very fortunate in Auckland that for most: utilities, infrastructure etc were still in place(many cases of CD alerts that would not be the case and I would have thought that would have been taken into consideration at designing CD alerts ?). Unlike in Chch where that was not the case. From what I have read no txt was sent, should not a CD txted take precedence and override all other use – Thought that would have been 1 case that those designing would have taken into consideration ???

          • Maurice

            The design does not seem to take these things in to consideration until an emergency highlights the deficiency. The level of stuff ups is usually epic because many just do not realise how severe these episodes are leaving those on the ground to deal with the consequences as best they can. Just as well there are a few No.8 wire Kiwis still about (from the Boomer generation genneraly!)

            There is not way to give precedence to any particular TXT on a public system only plaintive pleas for the public to keep it clear.

            • Belladonna

              Have to say that the no. 8 wire Kiwis on the ground in our neighbourhood were mostly considerably younger than the Boomer generation.
              The Kiwi 'can-do' attitude to digging emergency run-off trenches, or towing flooded cars, or floating out families on kayaks or inflatable dinghies, for example – was pretty much the 20s and 30s population.

              • Maurice

                Yes the University Students Volunteer Army turned out in droves for the CHCH Quakes and I think their organisation is still in existence. Just my warped sense of humour in these trying times!

                Update: Yep there they are: https://sva.org.nz/
                Already engaged with the Auckland emergency

            • Herodotus

              And NOW we get a txt warning as MetService has issued an Orange Heavy Rain Warning.

              Good to see something !!!

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