From the 1 December 2019, The National Emergency Management Agency is a legal entity and the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) has been transitioned into the new organisation. MCDEM ceased to exist on the date NEMA was established, with all references to MCDEM considered to be replaced with a reference to NEMA.
This change was recommended following a review into New Zealand’s civil defence system. Government saw the need to improve our national emergency management capability and to put people and communities at the centre of any response. The new agency will work across central government and with local government, emergency services, communities, iwi, lifeline utilities and business to create an emergency management system that is ready and able to provide an effective and integrated response to, and recovery from, emergencies.
Carolyn Schwalger has been appointed as the interim Chief Executive. Sarah Stuart-Black will continue in the statutory role as the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management. Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 (CDEM Act), the Chief Executive of NEMA and the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management cannot be the same person. Therefore, Sarah will become the NEMA Deputy Chief Executive.
The establishment of the National Emergency Management Agency is an exciting milestone in moving towards achieving the Government’s objectives, and is a once in a generation opportunity to boost the performance and capability of the emergency management system across all hazards and all risks for the benefit of all New Zealanders.