VNZ Welcomes Proposed Changes to Fire Service

Monday, 2 May 2016, 5:30 pm

Volunteering New Zealand welcomes the Government’s announcement on Friday, 29 April by Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne to re-build a fire service that supports its volunteer and paid workforce and its rural and urban communities.

“The Fire Service is an organisation particularly dependent on volunteers, with over 80% of fire service staff being considered volunteers,” says VNZ CEO Scott Miller.

The new organisation, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), aims to merge and modernise New Zealand’s fire services and create better support for fire service volunteers.

“In VNZ’s submission on the Fire Services Review last year, Volunteering New Zealand emphasised the need for more effective leadership of volunteer firefighters, including representation at the Board or executive level; strategies to manage the changing needs of volunteers and the organisations they volunteer with; and acknowledgement of the special role volunteer firefighters often play in rural communities” Miller states.

Many of these themes were reiterated in the summary of submissions and in the Review documents.

“We are particularly encouraged to read about developments discussed in the background documents to the Fire Services Transition regarding new measures to support and understand the needs of communities and of fire volunteers” adds Miller.

These developments are entirely consistent with Government’s Policy on Volunteering (2002) where the Government commits to “ensuring good practice in volunteer programs which government directly manages.

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