The nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system is a necessary part of making sure the system works well. Find results and information about nationwide tests.

Annual test of Emergency Mobile Alert system cancelled

The annual nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system has been cancelled. The test was scheduled to occur between 6 and 7 pm on Sunday 22 November 2020. 

In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, and the potential for confusion, we have decided not to proceed with the test. 

The annual test of Emergency Mobile Alert allows us to evaluate the system, cell towers, and the ability for mobile phones to receive the alert. The test also helps to familiarise the public with what an Emergency Mobile Alert looks like and how their phone presents the message. 

As the Emergency Mobile Alert system has been used a number of times this year for local and national emergencies, including nationwide alerts for the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe the test is not necessary this year. 

The results from last year’s nationwide test showed that more than two-thirds of New Zealanders received the test alert. 

Why we test Emergency Mobile Alert

The nationwide test is a necessary part of making sure the Emergency Mobile Alert system works well.

The nationwide test is sent to cell towers all over New Zealand and we expect approximately four million phones are capable of receiving the alert.

In 2017, 2018 and 2019 we received thousands of feedback submissions from people that helped us evaluate and improve the Emergency Mobile Alert system.

The most recent nationwide test was held on the evening of 24 November 2019.

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Give us feedback about Emergency Mobile Alert. Information collected in this survey is used to make ongoing improvements to the alerting platform, which is used to keep people in New Zealand safe.

Independent survey results of the nationwide test

Following the nationwide test of Emergency Mobile Alert on 25 November 2018, the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management commissioned an independent survey.

The survey was conducted by interviewing 1000 New Zealand mobile users aged 15 years and over. The survey was conducted immediately after the 2018 nationwide test between 26 November and 9 December 2018.

A survey was also conducted following the 2019 nationwide test of Emergency Mobile Alert.

The survey was conducted to look at a range of factors.

  • Proportion of the population who received the test alert
  • Prior awareness of the Emergency Mobile Alert system
  • Prior knowledge that the nationwide test was going to take place
  • Public perceptions of the Emergency Mobile Alert system
  • Whether or not the public believe the system should be optional
  • Changes since the launch of the Emergency Mobile Alert system and test alert in 2017
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Survey results for the 2018 and 2019 nationwide tests of Emergency Mobile Alert.

ema-2018-nationwide-test-survey-en-feb19.pdf pdf 2.3 MB
ema-2019-nationwide-test-survey-en-feb20.pdf pdf 4.6 MB