Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has lashed out over the time it took to declare a Civil Defence emergency in Christchurch, as huge fires on the Port Hills muscled towards the city.
Mr Brownlee, who will be in Christchurch this morning, says there are "several structural issues" to address when it comes to making these emergency decisions.
Source: 1 NEWS
"I've got nothing but admiration for the people fighting the fire, I think it's a structural issue when it comes to decision-making," he said.
"We had military on stand-by yesterday morning and they organised themselves to get down there and help.
"They can't do that until they are asked to do so, they need that state of Civil Defence Emergency."
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel responded to Mr Brownlee's comments, saying she wanted to meet with him to discuss the matter rigorously.
She said the decision to declare a state of emergency is one the council makes, based on advice from several other parties.
Mr Brownlee said a cross-party meeting planned for today won't go ahead because he's travelling to Christchurch.