Auckland floods: Chris Hipkins says immediate response discussed in meeting with Mayor Wayne Brown

  • 02/02/2023

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says a meeting he had with Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown on Thursday was future-focused, but the pair did canvass the initial aftermath of the Auckland flooding.

The immediate response to the catastrophic floods that hit Auckland on Friday night has been heavily criticised with a lack of clear communication from the Mayor's Office and confusion around when a state of emergency would be declared.

At a press conference on Saturday, standing alongside the Prime Minister, Brown attempted to deflect that criticism, saying he acted to declare a state of emergency as soon as he had the go-ahead from officials.

The Prime Minister and other ministers had to step back and to the side as Brown had officials take to the microphone to relay what happened the night before and the Mayor's interactions with journalists became testy.

In the days since, Brown has admitted communication could have been better and launched a review of the response.

Speaking in Auckland on Thursday, Hipkins was asked about what was discussed at a meeting he had with Brown in the morning. 

"We had a good meeting. We were predominantly talking about the floods and the response to the flood and how we get through the next phase of the response. It was very future-focused. What are the pressing points right now, where can central and local government work together. 

"I reiterated to him that we are available to help and he reiterated to me that we have provided him everything that he has asked for since this event began and we will continue to endeavour to do that. We have to work together I think. Aucklanders expect to see us working together and that's what we will do."

He confirmed the pair did discuss the initial response to the crisis.

"We had a conversation about the last few days. Of course, we did. But our real focus was on the future and what's immediately in front of us and keeping the response moving."

While Hipkins and ministers have avoided judging the actions of the Mayor and other council officials, they have admitted communications - including from Government agencies - could have been better. They've said there will be a review of how the response played out.