Emergency response planning in New Zealand, and most other comparable nations, takes an “all hazards” approach, where response resources and coordination arrangements are assumed to be sufficient to meet the needs of any hazard that might occur. The response components of the National Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Plan and most regional/local CDEM Group plans take an “all hazards” approach.

Lessons from the 2010-2012 Canterbury earthquake sequence, the MV Rena grounding and the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy, indicated that a lack of pre-existing planning for the types of impacts, consequences, and necessary response actions inhibited the effectiveness of those responses. At least some of this can be attributed to the “all hazards” approach.

Although “all hazards” planning provides broad and solid basis for response planning, it lacks specificity about the sorts of impacts and consequences that individual, large-scale or complex hazards, like major earthquakes, will bring with them, or the community, organisation, and government agency responses that are likely to be required to reduce damage, loss or suffering.

AF8 has been initiated to introduce outline planning for response actions, resources, and overall coordination within and between CDEM Groups across the South Island. The planning model being applied uses Alpine Fault earthquake scenarios developed by subject matter experts, which are then used to develop response priorities and actions to be included in the South Island Alpine Fault Earthquake Responne (SAFER) Framework.

The SAFER planning process is based on that included in the Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS). AF8 planning includes as many agencies and organisation that will have significant roles to play when earthquakes and associated hazards occur. This enables the resultant plan to support and be consistent with those developed in actual earthquake responses.

South Island CDEM Group Plans

Current South Island CDEM Group plans can be found at the following links:


National CDEM Plan

The overall plan that provides the framework for responses to all large-scale, complex emergencies is the National Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Plan.