Wayne Brown on flood reaction: ‘There may have been some incorrect decisions’

By RNZ.co.nz

Auckland’s mayor says lessons have been learned following the region’s highest ever rainfall over 24 hours, which left four people dead and forced hundreds of people out of their homes.

Wayne Brown had been criticised for not calling a State of Emergency earlier on Friday night.

In a press conference yesterday, he went on the defence, saying the response to Friday’s storm took a lot of concentration, happened quickly and the response was much quicker than people believed.

He said yesterday that he followed the advice of the professionals when deciding whether to declare an emergency.

But during a visit to a community hall in Māngere today, Brown said emergency managers may have made some incorrect decisions.

“This is a great example of a community getting together and showing some leadership and they overcame what may have been some incorrect decisions from the emergency management group.

“Today’s role for me is to make sure the lessons of yesterday are learnt.”

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Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina also admitted council did not act early enough to the flooding crisis.

“The most important lessons for us is to make sure we act early, let us as council act early.

“I don’t think we acted early enough, in all honesty. It’s important to learn from these mistakes and raise the issue in council,” Filipaina said.

“People affected by the floods were left asking what to do and where to go.”

Māngere was the worst hit in the south, with many residents having lost everything and Filipaina said they would be feeling the effects for many months to come.

“We would never do enough, but the more we do will benefit our community and that’s what we’re trying to do now.

“I have no doubt in the coming months they will still be feeling effects of this flood,” he said.

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown visits the Mangere Emergency Centre following the Auckland floods on Friday, 27 January to see how they are supporting victims.

Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver

Auckland woman Sita Lee said everything she owned had been destroyed when the flooding reached her home.

“I called Watercare in hopes that someone will come and help us but they took forever to answer. At that time I noticed the water was getting higher and higher.

“My car was in the drive, we forgot to move it so it got written off.

“My mum was in the room praying, she’s an 80-year-old lady who can’t swim – she had to be carried out by some younger men” said Lee.

Former heavyweight boxing champion David Tua was among those who came to the Māngere emergency centre today.

He said as a South Auckland community man, he had to do what he could to help.

“Our people may need help, for me, I’m excited to be here and do everything i can to help.

“It might be food, it might be clothes or a place to stay – but there’s never enough we can do to help these people,” Tua said.

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