Board Update – 28 June 2017

We are just a few days away from Day One of Fire and Emergency New Zealand. The Board would like to thank everyone for their support and goodwill over the last 12 months or so, as we have prepared for the most important change in New Zealand’s fire and emergency services in decades. Bringing urban and rural fire under one umbrella has been a big job, and we could not have done it without your help.

We now have the new law, funding and interim arrangements in place to get us over the line on 1 July. Over the next three years, during the Integration Phase, we will need your help to create a truly integrated world-leading fire and emergency organisation for New Zealand.

After more than 700 events, workshops and forums over the last year, we’re now on the cusp of the next chapter in New Zealand’s fire and emergency history. We hope you enjoy Day One.


Proud History, Bright Future – Day One Events

As mentioned in last month’s Board Update, we’ll be joining Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne, Ashburton Mayor Donna Favel, other dignitaries and local urban and rural fire people in Ashburton to celebrate Day One of Fire and Emergency NZ on Saturday 1 July. This location was chosen after the local Day One event organising committee extended an invitation to the Board and Minister.

We hope planning for your own events is well underway. A ‘Day One toolkit’ is being couriered to all stations, brigades and rural fire forces, including a commemorative plaque that can be hung on the wall. Some funding has been made available for urban and rural fire organisations to commemorate the day with a morning tea, BBQ or other community event. We hope you are able to hold a local event to mark the changes. Please email us pictures at so that we can share them with others.

Day One is a great opportunity to celebrate the work firefighters do in local communities and to discuss what Fire and Emergency NZ will mean for them – whether it’s about fire prevention, firefighters’ role in responding to non-fire incidents like medical emergencies, or encouraging them to consider joining us. The relationships with local communities are already very strong, and this is the chance to thank them for their support and let them know we will be working closely with them as we head into Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Bottom left image by Nick Rayner, Governor’s Bay Volunteer Fire Brigade

The commemorative plaque being sent to all stations, brigades, and rural fire forces.

One of the newly-branded trucks en route to Ashburton for the parade on Saturday 1 July. A newly branded rural truck, which is receiving its final touches, will also be on display.

Pōwhiri/Welcome for Chief Executive Rhys Jones

On Monday 3 July, a pōwhiri will be held at Wellington City Station to officially welcome Rhys Jones, the new Chief Executive of Fire and Emergency NZ. As part of the ceremony, Rhys will be presented with a traditional korowai or cloak that has been specially commissioned for our organisation.

The ceremony will be held from 10 – 11am, and we will be live-streaming it on the New Zealand Fire and Emergency Facebook page, (formerly the NZFS Facebook page).


Day One – Preparedness and Support

The Board is confident that we are on track for a successful transition to Fire and Emergency NZ. At this month’s meeting we received a detailed report from the Transition team on the current state of play for Day One. 

A few highlights are:

• Over 11,000 people involved in operational firefighting, including DOC personnel and contractors, have been authorised, formalising their powers to fight fires and deal with other incident types.

• Between 80 and 90 percent of our people have attended a Day one preparation session led by their leaders. 

• 101 inspectors will have been appointed by 1 July.

• 85 Business services staff have attended a detailed briefing.

• At least 730 co-design engagements have been held to build the new organisation.

The Day One tool kits contain quick reference cards, contact numbers, promotional material to share with your communities, the commemorative plaque, and a message from the leadership of Fire and Emergency NZ.

All the information they contain is available online here, including Insight, a one-off publication marking the establishment of Fire and Emergency NZ.

Support is available if you haven’t got your Day One kit yet, or anything isn’t working as you expect on 1 July.

A 24/7 helpdesk is available (0800 232 015) for any Day One or transition inquiries, as well as the ICT helpdesk (0800 374 843). You can also email

Insight magazine is a one-off publication marking the establishment of Fire and Emergency NZ – click here to read.

New staff numbers

To ensure we can continue to serve our communities now and into the future, it’s vital Fire and Emergency NZ is resourced to meet the needs of urban and rural together, and the broader mandate we’ve been given.

Additional funding has been approved by Government as part of the transition process for a number of new roles, 70% of which will be based in the regions to support regional teams.

These roles cover;

28 temporary Area support roles that have been extended to allow senior leaders to work on integration.
62 new volunteer support roles.
49 new rural and management support roles.
2 new roles to support the interim dispute resolution process.
These roles are focused on improving support for all our people, particularly volunteers, as required in the new Act, and rural fire services whose support services were previously provided by territorial authorities.
New training and support roles, plus our expanded responsibilities and leadership development requirements also mean new job opportunities for all firefighters.

Two additional career recruit courses (on top of three already planned) are also in planning, alongside another round of tactical command courses to ensure we have enough people for the first year of integration, without disrupting any current services. The majority of the new roles will be recruited between now and December 2017.


Integration Phase: 2017 – 2020

The new positions mentioned above are more like a starter pack so that we can improve our support for the front line as we develop our plans to deliver our six key priorities over the next three years – the Integration Phase. You can read more about these priorities here.


Queen’s Birthday Honours, 50 Year Medals and Jubilees

The Board is very pleased that six people were recognised for services to the New Zealand Fire Service in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours. We would like to congratulate former Chief Executive & National Commander Paul Baxter, Bruce Didham of Portobello, Brian Dobson of Matata, Karl Lapwood of Huntly and Ngaruawahia, Michael O’Neill of Gore, and Miles Shelley of Ngatea for this well-deserved recognition of service.

We would like to congratulate William Edwards of Manutuke, and Jack Winwood of Okaihau as well, who were awarded 50 Year Medals in June. Thank you William and Jack for your outstanding service and commitment to your communities.

Congratulations are also due to Omokoroa Volunteer Fire Brigade, who celebrated their 50th Jubilee on 27 May.

That’s all for now. On behalf of the Board I would once again like to extend our thanks to everyone who has contributed towards the establishment of Fire and Emergency NZ.

Wherever you are in New Zealand, we hope you will be marking this historic occasion in some way with your local station, brigade or rural fire force on 1 July, and we wish you all the best for the big day.


Hon. Paul Swain
Board Chair, New Zealand Fire Service Commission


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