GeoNet will get initial funding of up to $3 million to improve how it monitors and responds to natural hazards such as earthquakes.
The funding boost comes after scrutiny of the official response to the Kaikoura earthquake, particularly how quickly a tsunami alert was issued.
Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith confirmed the funding boost today, saying opportunities to strengthen the current system were identified after the November 14 earthquakes.
The money could be spent on strengthening existing infrastructure, as well as research into improved sensors and models.
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"Work is already underway, led by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, on scoping a 24/7 warning centre that would involve multiple agencies monitoring a range of hazards," Brownlee said.
"This work will continue but, in the meantime, enhancing GeoNet's capacity to provide a timely response is an important priority."
Initial funding has been appropriated from MBIE's Strategic Science Investment Fund.
Both ministers said in some cases there would be no time to issue warnings, even with the best systems. Given that, official advice was if people feel a strong earthquake, they should immediately head inland or to higher ground.
Last month the NZ Association of Scientists said they were concerned that Brownlee had criticised GeoNet director Ken Gledhill, who had blogged about the need for an expanded earthquake monitoring system.
When Gledhill repeated the comments at a press conference, Brownlee said he felt blindsided by the scientist's comments.