Plea for urgency on advice

By John Maslin

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A Wanganui District councillor has taken a swipe at his council's emergency management and communications teams for failing to be proactive with information around increased volcanic activity in Tongariro National Park.

Councillor Ray Stevens' comment came hours before yesterday's small eruption on Mt Tongariro.

He said reports of increased activity should have heightened the urgency of getting information to the community well in advance of yesterday's event. But he said neither council team seemed concerned enough to give it.

GNS Science has advised recent measurements at Mt Ruapehu indicate the likelihood of eruptions has increased but they cannot say when or if they may happen.

Mr Stevens said emergency management had an annual budget of $600,000 and for that he expected information to be immediate, not a few days after an alert: "A simple press release via the council communications team and everyone will know how to prepare for this event ... that is what it is about - being ready and informed."

Max Benseman, the council's emergency manager, said information regarding Mt Ruapehu would be published in this week's Community Link page in today's Chronicle.

Motorists travelling through the Tongariro National Park area over the summer are advised to check the GeoNet website (www.geonet.org.nz) and news outlets before driving through the National Park zone.

For more information about how to be prepared should a volcanic eruption occur, or any other type of emergency, go to www.getthru.govt.nz or www.wanganui.govt.nz

- Wanganui Chronicle

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