Work has begun on the improvements to New Zealand’s geological hazards monitoring as announced in Budget 2017, Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith have announced today.
The start of work was marked on a visit to a geotechnical drilling site at St Gerard’s Monastery in Wellington this morning.
“The investment of NZ$19.5 million over four years will enhance New Zealand’s earthquake, tsunami, landslip and volcano monitoring capability,” Mr. Goldsmith says.
“Cabinet has approved plans to implement an upgraded 24/7 monitoring system that will significantly improve our ability to detect and communicate geological hazards – particularly tsunami – quickly and accurately.
“As part of a package of measures, GeoNet will increase the number of specialists monitoring information as it comes in and will coordinate with Civil Defence as necessary. There will also be improvements to GeoNet’s network of monitoring instruments, operations centre, hazard modelling, and monitoring tools.
“These enhancements build on the existing GeoNet infrastructure, developed between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science over the past 16 years, which has become a trusted source of advice for Civil Defence and New Zealanders through the app and website,” Mr. Goldsmith says.
“These changes will mean New Zealanders are better equipped with both long-term and real-time information about natural hazards,” says Mr. Guy.
“We can better protect lives and property, increase preparedness and build our infrastructure, businesses and communities in ways that are more resilient to disruption.
“It’s an important shift away from simply managing the after effects of disasters. There is so much we can do when we are equipped with both long-term and real-time information about natural hazards.
“However, people who live in coastal areas and experience an earthquake that is long or strong, should move immediately to higher ground or as far inland as possible. There may not be time to warn people before the first tsunami waves arrive, in the case of local-source tsunami, even with these improvements.”
“Following the Kaikoura earthquake, the Government made NZ$3 million available in December 2016 for GeoNet to make interim improvements to capability, equipment, procedures and systems, and lay the groundwork for longer term upgrades. This work is well underway and I expect to see a full shift to the new system by the end of next year,” Mr. Goldsmith says.
For more information on GeoNet, visit their official website here.
 GeoNet is a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission (EQC) GNS Science and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), to analyse geological risks to New Zealand. GeoNet also provides monitoring and warning advice to the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM), and to the public through social media and the GeoNet app.