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Council website needs to carry warnings, updates

Letter

Once again our warning agencies have let us down, with a mediocre performance re Sunday’s rain event.

When are they going to get it into their heads that the first place people look is the council website?

And what did the website’s home page tell us on Sunday afternoon about the flooding?

That first, all-important page told us nothing.

Oh, except for the highlighted need to save water because of repairs up at the waterworks.

Finding and clicking on the Civil Defence tab is what people would do next — and I have to say, the new website might look attractive, but it is still not easy to navigate.

On the Civil Defence page people were referred to Facebook and the NZTA web pages.

As a journalist I have often found that the NZTA page is not up to date — with events slow to be reported and posted.

But why is vital information not on the front home page of the council website? Anxious residents should not have to chase emergency information through other websites — especially not Facebook, which carries the stigma of unreliability and misinformation, as well as competing with New Zealand media.

Finally, before the Mayor or any other spokesperson speaks to the media, attend to getting vital information to the locals first — especially by way of an immediate website page that tells everyone what they need to know.

Front up, council — fix your communications. This is not the first time you have been found wanting in this area.

Roger Handford

  1. Hori says:

    Roger – why not put your energy and venting into something positive?
    Grab a shovel and put on a pair of gumboots and head up to Tokomaru Bay and get stuck in moving some mud. Get to know what manaakitanga is all about. No one here is whinging or will want to listen to you. Front up to the United rugby club!

    1. Roger Handford says:

      Please address the topic – refrain from attacking the person.
      In an emergency people need fast, accessible information – my comments are aimed at Council improving its communications.
      I am not whingeing or venting. And as for being told to learn manaakitanga, I believe I have contributed a bit over my 70-plus years of age, in various ways. I will donate $100 to Hatea a Rangi School to show I care and help a little in their recovery.

  2. Will Dobbie says:

    Then for other interested ratepayers such as me: make the website stuff readable by older operating systems such as Windows XP; not all of us can easily afford the expense to buy a newer computer and operating system to read the pages since being “updated” a couple of months ago . . . the rainfall and river level pages that I would normally look to, now just go to an error message.
    Sure, the data is updated each ten minutes . . . but no point if it is unreadable.
    Also, don’t expect an email to be sent to GDC if the staff on the front counter will not pass on a message to the staff verbally. I have already put the effort into going to the front desk – they should be able to pass on a comment to the team.

  3. Lloyd Gretton, Auckland says:

    After the Gisborne earthquake, one of the main Gisborne radio stations went off air. Except for civil emergency staff, people’s first priority is their own and their family’s safety. In times of emergency, social media is best to look at. That is instant and no one or hardly anyone has an ulterior agenda.