Civil Defence Campaign targets young people

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Nathan Guy

Wellington, May 9, 2017

An innovative new Civil Defence campaign will help to improve the emergency preparedness of people under the age of 30.

The new public education campaign targets people aged 18-30 who have a lower rate of preparedness for emergencies than the average New Zealander.

The campaign forms part of the ‘Never Happens? Happens’ public education programme by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, which was launched last July with a multi-phase rollout that included videos from ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ actress Rachel House.

Motivating youth

We know that young people are great at getting prepared when they’re properly motivated, and this campaign taps into that by reinforcing that preparing for an emergency is easier than you think.

A big barrier to getting prepared is the false perception that it’s too hard or costly. The truth is, the most important thing to do is sit down with flatmates, friends or family and come up with a plan about what to do if an emergency happens.

The innovative, low-budget ($160,000) campaign emphasises that it is no harder than getting ready for something like a festival, a road trip, or a Netflix binge session.

If you are going to a festival with friends, you would have a plan about what to do or where to meet if you got separated and you lost contact. Planning for an emergency is not hugely different.

Different approach

Ministry research shows a different approach is needed for younger people who are likely to have a more independent lifestyle and different priorities when it comes to time and money.

We know that young people have a great capacity to self-organise and look after others – we saw that with the Student Volunteer Army in Canterbury. This campaign encourages them to make sure they are also looking after themselves and their mates.

The campaign will involve posters, digital advertising, social media, and working through Civil Defence Emergency Management groups to target residents, employers and tertiary institutions.

For more tips on getting prepared, and to make a plan in just a few minutes, visit

Nathan Guy is Defence Minister of New Zealand.

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