Frequently asked questions

Why is the Government establishing this Inquiry?

The major weather events in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty and Tararua earlier this year were unprecedented. They caused loss and trauma to people, households and communities and resulted in billions of dollars of damage.

We can expect more of these events. So, as a country, we need to prepare. We need to also make sure our emergency management system is better prepared to respond.

This Inquiry has been established under the Inquiries Act 2013 to look at the preparedness and response of local and central governments; the communities and businesses who were disproportionately impacted; the support provided by iwi; and the roles played by support groups and organisations that provided essential infrastructure.


Why is the Inquiry only looking at response, and not the recovery?

It’s too soon to assess the recovery because the recovery itself will continue beyond the Inquiry’s timeframes, into the medium to long term.


What will the Inquiry do? 

The Inquiry will identify lessons learned from the North Island severe weather events and provide recommendations to Government so our emergency management system is better prepared to respond to future natural emergencies.


Will the public get an opportunity to participate?

The Inquiry has set out a range of ways for New Zealanders to share to prepare: 

  • You can contact us as an individual and share your experiences online. 
  • You may be invited by the Inquiry to meet in-person. 
  • You may be a community representative or part of a group meeting the panel.  
  • You can make a submission on behalf of a group. 
  • You can share any reports that could be useful to the Inquiry. 


Will the Inquiry take into account other reviews of these events?

Yes. The Inquiry will take into account the outcomes of other investigations and reports into related matters and other material that is already in the public domain. However, the Inquiry is independent and is not bound by the conclusions or recommendations of any other investigation, report, or review.


What is the Inquiry not permitted to look at?

The Inquiry Terms of Reference lists the matters that are outside the scope of the Inquiry. For example, policies and actions relating to risk reduction and resilience building are excluded because separate programmes of work are already underway. Investigation into the treatment of individual cases of people or businesses affected by the severe weather is also excluded.


How will this Inquiry benefit New Zealanders?

We can expect more of these events. Climate change is increasing the frequency and complexity of severe weather events across Aotearoa New Zealand. It is important to ensure that our emergency management system is better prepared to respond to future emergency events. 

The Inquiry will identify lessons from these events to ensure that New Zealand’s emergency management system is appropriate to support preparedness for, and responses to, future natural emergencies.