5 Feb 2023

Former top police officer to lead probe into Auckland flood response

7:46 pm on 5 February 2023
Police Commissioner Mike Bush announces that all 50 of the Christchurch terror attack victims have been identified

Former police commissioner Mike Bush. Photo: Ana Tovey / RNZ

Former police commissioner Mike Bush will head an independent review of the response to the first hours of the Auckland floods.

Mayor Wayne Brown announced the review and asked Bush to head the inquiry given his "unparalleled experience and personal excellence in immediate crisis response."

Mike Bush was police commissioner from 2014 to 2020, led the response to the March 15 terror attacks, and was Strategic Operations Lead for the government's Covid-19 response.

The review will look at how well Auckland Emergency Management was placed in the lead up to the severe weather and how well it responded in the initial 24-48 hours.

It will also consider whether a state of emergency should have been recommended earlier, and what the consequences were.

Partner agencies and central government will also be looked at as to how effective communications were during the event, as well as council and the mayor.

The review team may review any other matters that emerge from its inquiries.

The mayor's office says it will fully cooperate with the review.

Brown has apologised for slow communication at the start of the crisis.

"As I said on Friday, I dropped the ball the night of 27 January, especially with my communication, and I am sorry," Mayor Brown said in a statement,

The initial budget for the review is $100,000, and to be paid out of the Mayor's Office budget.

Bush is the current chair of Rick Management Group Limited and his crisis management experience also includes the 2019 Whakaari White Island Eruption, 2016 Kaihoura earthquake, and, when posted in the New Zealand Embassy in Thailand, the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

He has chosen Debbie Francis, Gary Knowles and Michael Paki for his review team.

Francis is the former chief people officer at the defence force and parter at PwC New Zealand, and an independent investigation into workplace culture at parliament.

Knowles is the former director of civil defence and deputy chief executive of the National Emergency Management Agency.

Paki is a former senior sergeant, senior investigator and head of iwi and community at Counties Manakau Police.

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