12 Feb 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle update: 'Aucklanders are strong and resilient, we will get through this'

2:43 pm on 12 February 2023

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown says the city is well-prepared and taking the threat of Cyclone Gabrielle seriously, as officials provide an update on what the country can expect in coming days.

Watch the briefing here:

Auckland Emergency Management gave its latest state of emergency update as Cyclone Gabrielle makes landfall in New Zealand.

Brown said it would be a challenging time, but Auckland was well-prepared and taking it seriously.

"This time, we've got a lot more warning and we are better-prepared [than the flooding in late January]."

He said the build-up to the cyclone had been "intense".

"I'm well aware of the remote rural areas. I've ensured that they've been included in all of the planning, not just an urban-based plan."

He said emergency services were on high alert, and asked for people to check on neighbours, whānau, friends to make sure they were okay.

"Aucklanders are strong and resilient and we will get through this. Stay safe. Kia kaha."

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown at the Auckland Emergency Management update as Cyclone Gabrielle hits on 12 February.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown at the Auckland Emergency Management update as Cyclone Gabrielle hits on 12 February. Photo: RNZ / Jonty Dine

Deputy mayor Desley Simpson urged people to reach out if they needed help.

"You've still got time, Auckland. Please prepare. There will be destruction from this cyclone."

Fire and Emergency spokesperson Vaughan Mackereth said they were bringing in specialist crews, medics, engineers, search and rescue and more.

"People can be confident there are sufficient firefighters."

He said there had been a small number of callouts in Northland today, including a tree fallen on a house, and several coming down on powerlines.

"Take action at home if you haven't already. Tie down all loose items in your backyard. Bring them inside.

"Once the storm hits, stay off the roads if you can. That reduces your risk, don't drive or ride through floodwater. It's hard to judge the depth or see hidden objects."

Auckland Transport safety executive general manager Stacey van der Putten said people should keep off the road as much as possible.

"If you need to travel, take the time to plan your journey with the most up to date information available."

She warned of possible changes and cancellations in the public transport network and that while the goal was to keep public transport operating, "we do need to take a risk-based approach" based on safety.

Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Rachel Kelleher confirmed that Monday and Tuesday rubbish collections would not happen and the next collection would not be until the next collection date.

She said several programmes of work - such as the flood-affected property from kerbsides - had been stopped, and would resume once the impact of Gabrielle was known.

She said this would be a "severe and potentially devastating weather event", and urged people to take advice seriously.

"I want to assure you that supermarkets will continue to remain open. They're well-stocked."

She said individual supermarkets might shut if they were affected.

Kelleher said anybody going to a shelter could take pets such as "contained cats" and dogs on leashes with them.

She said Aucklanders should check AEM.org.nz and Facebook for up-to-date information and the locations of shelters.

Northland is already experiencing Cyclone Gabrielle's impacts, with nearly 1500 homes losing power.

Some parts of Auckland have also lost power.

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