Northport prepares for the worst

Northport, the only deep-water port in the North Island and a key part of New Zealand’s transport and commercial infrastructure, has adopted a crisis communication plan to help its small operations team liaise effectively with the local community and other important groups in the event of a major incident there. 

The plan has been developed by Northport’s public relations consultancy Due North. It ensures that Northport is able to communicate effectively during an incident while maintaining its focus on the event itself. 

Northport CEO Jon Moore said the Pike River tragedy and the Rena grounding had illustrated graphically the kind of spotlight any organisation could find itself under at any time. 

“If something similar was to happen here our team would be stretched to the limit just dealing with the event itself. Effective communication with our local community and other people who might be affected is vital in these situations, though, so we don’t want to be scrabbling around when the lights go out wondering what to do.”

Due North managing director Peter Heath said having a crisis communication plan in place was all part of responsible management. 

“In many cases you can’t hope to manage a crisis. It’s how you react to it that counts. You’ll be judged by the way you respond to the unfolding situation and frequently unpredictable twists and turns along the way. And by how you communicate throughout.” 

Heath said it was still rare for organisations to have a fully-functional, frequently-tested crisis communication plan in place. Many incident response plans either overlooked the communication aspect or failed to give it enough weight.

“Effective, credible communication is a vital part of dealing with an event, mitigating its impact and protecting reputations. Yet relatively few organisations have given enough thought to how they’ll handle this – let alone the crucial details such as whether or not the spokespeople they’d use are really right for the job.”

Due North is part of a multinational crisis communication team appointed by AIM-listed global security company red24 . London-based red24 helps international companies manage crisis situations ranging from product recalls and adverse weather conditions through to rescuing staff involved in hostage and terrorist attacks.

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About Due North:

Staffed and managed by communication professionals with many years’ experience in large public relations consultancies and leading media outlets, Due North is a full-service public relations consultancy offering a comprehensive range of support, from internal communication to issues management and crisis communication. 

For more information visit

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