Mobile emergency test 'a success' despite many missing out - Civil Defence

Civil Defence is hailing Sunday night's emergency alert test as a success, despite more than half the country not getting the message.

"The message was broadcast right across the North and South Island and that's fantastic. We've had confirmation from each of the regions that the messages have been received," Sarah Stuart-Black told The AM Show.

"We estimated that about a third of New Zealand phones would have received the message. But what we saw last night was a number of handsets that we hadn't tested as part of the development of this system actually received the message, so we think the number of phones that received it was actually higher than 2 million."

But is it good enough that more than half the country didn't receive the alert?

"There's an issue if people didn't download the latest updates or if their phones were too old.

Ms Stuart-Black recommends those who didn't receive the alert to upgrade their phone or download the latest update.

However, she also says this test alert is not a "silver bullet".

"[The test] is part of a new channel available to provide public information in addition to the way we communicate through TV, radio, online, and social media.

"The test has proved really valuable making sure that yes the technology does work, we can broadcast a message, and it's raised awareness across the country. There's a real opportunity now for New Zealanders to now check their phones if they didn't receive the message and look at our website for more information."

"Sixty-three percent of New Zealanders still turn to radio for public information. We're relying on the fact that people will check with their neighbours and family that they've heard that information as well."