Patrick Gower: Port Hills fire shows Civil Defence a shambles yet again

OPINION: You only need to see the faces of the firefighters here on the ground at the Port Hills to understand their dedication to duty and professionalism.

And you only need to see the faces of the politicians as they dodge questions on delays about how the state of emergency was issued to know there are big problems with the Civil Defence process.

Off the back of the meltdown over the tsunami warnings after the Kaikoura earthquake, the average Kiwi's confidence in Civil Defence will be low.

When politicians have a briefing together then come out saying different things you know it's a shambles.

Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the response was too slow. 

Prime Minister Bill English says he doesn't know enough about it.

The Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel and the Mayor of Selwyn Sam Broughton say everything was fine.

Brownlee also says the best information he got yesterday was from the media.

It seems there are big issues with who notifies who in an emergency, who makes the calls, and how to overcome the bureaucratic and legal barriers.

Once again there are big questions about a disaster response - questions that New Zealand's leader cannot answer. 

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