Key roles and responsibilities

While there may be specific obligations for different people and/or agencies, event safety is a shared responsibility and should be a focus for everyone – event organisers, the Government and public. Effective governance structures and event planning will help to ensure this can happen.

Owners/organisers of events

Owners and organisers of events have the primary responsibility to ensure they run a safe and secure event making sure that they have the appropriate planning in place to manage risks and protect their attendees, staff and anyone else affected by their event.

Event organisers should ensure that:

  • the venue and facilities are suitable for the expected crowd, including emergency access and egress, and proximity to public transport
  • appropriate stakeholders are briefed and involved in the event planning process, such as regional/local councils, other government agencies and emergency services

Local government

Local government plays a crucial role in protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of New Zealanders, including helping to support the safe and secure delivery of events. Local councils have several statutory responsibilities across a variety of legislation. Councils are responsible for managing council owned land and facilities, such as parks, civic spaces, and events such as public activities, celebrations and other community initiatives.

Councils have a duty of care to work alongside other agencies, and with event organisers to ensure appropriate risk management practices are in place for events where they may have any influence. They are responsible for ensuring event organisers have a plan in place that shows they understand and are prepared to manage the risks (what could go wrong) and hazards (what could create risk) associated with the planning and delivery of the event be it through an event approval, licensing or as the landowner. Councils may be able to provide direction, set expectations and offer guidance where appropriate, especially for events that are using public spaces. When local government is also the owner and organiser of an event, they will be primarily responsible for the safety and security of the event.

Central government

Central government bears the main responsibility for New Zealand’s national security. The Government’s National Security Group of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) is tasked with identifying and coordinating the mitigation of risks as part of the national security framework. Mega and major events often require central government support and resources to mitigate risk.

The Major Events Security Committee, chaired by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, works closely with mega and major event owners and organisers to ensure that threats and risks are considered in a coordinated manner. However, it does not mean that the central government takes on responsibility for delivering your safety and security measures. For example, the New Zealand Police may, on occasion, work with event organisers to provide advice with event security and protective security guidance if necessary but will not manage the security for your events. While keeping the Police informed early and regularly will ensure they have the necessary information about your event (should their help be needed), event organisers should not rely on Police presence as a part of their basic risk and security planning.

For smaller events, specific lead agencies for each hazard and risk can provide advice on the nature of specific hazards and risks and their mitigations and can help carry out your risk assessment process. A full list of lead agencies can be found on the Lead and support agencies page of the DPMC website(external link).

At all times, an event organiser is responsible for planning and managing risks associated with the event.

There may be times when emerging risks or crises occur with the potential to impact your event. Central government will typically activate the National Security System in response to the emerging risks or crises. In the case of mega and major events, central government will work with event owners and organisers to ensure risks are being mitigated.  The assumption is always that the event SHOULD continue, so we can work with you to make that happen if possible. In the case of smaller events, the national terrorism threat level provides the context to consider whether or not your event has sufficient mitigations to make your own judgement about whether or not it should continue. You can find more information on New Zealand’s national terrorism threat level on the Counter-terrorism page of the DPMC website(external link).