Transition Update

David Strong - December 2016

Hello everybody

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to give you a quick overview of just how much progress has been made towards standing up a new organisation – FENZ – from 1 July 2017. This once-in-a-generation change heralds the start of an exciting new stage in our fire services history.

I also want to express my personal thanks for the goodwill and support we have received from you and the community in this time. This has been a significant contributor towards our collective progress over the past few months.

Since I started as Transition Director four months ago, we’ve put a team in place and we have Board agreement on where we want to be by Day One – 1 July 2017.

If you haven’t already read our Day One Blueprint, please do so as it identifies the many different components that make up a new organisation. It states which of these we need to have in place for Day One and what will be done later. You may also find useful the summary of what’s changing, and what isn’t that we sent to all fire stations, brigades and fire forces in September.

The Project received its first set of funding in September and the second lot in early December. We have plans in place for each of our seven workstreams, have established the first pilot working group to consider Local Committees, and have completed seven of the nine high level designs needed to ensure operational policies and processes are in place for 1 July 2017. We are finalising how we will be involving key sector representatives in the detailed design stage. We have been gathering a significant volume of data, primarily in the rural sector, to help inform our planning.

We have been finding out as much as we can about the rural fire services that are currently delivered by 38 different entities. Karen Keely, one of our ‘People & Change’ team members, travelled to Northland RFA earlier this month to talk to Myles Taylor about the people who serve their local community.

I have had the privilege of travelling around New Zealand and meeting some of our fire services and support personnel. It’s been very informative and one of the resounding messages I’ve heard is that this is about better serving our communities. As a former Army service person, I get ‘community’ and I get ‘service’. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and what motivates me to help create FENZ, an organisation that will serve our communities well into the future.

It is for our communities that we are working closely with the people from the NZFS, the NRFA, and the 38 entities that are amalgamating on 1 July 2017.


Learning about fire services on the West Coast by attending the RFA Board in Greymouth last month.

We are also working with the Department of Conservation, the New Zealand Defence Force, local government, and the forestry sector – entities that will not become part of FENZ – but with whom we need working agreements in place to ensure that the country is covered by fire services.

Building FENZ is a phased activity and our aim over the next six months is to amalgamate the 40 entities and 14,100 people into one. We will then have three years to integrate the systems, tools, and processes. Full unification is expected to take place from 2020 onwards.

By the end of January, we expect to have:

  • completed our high level designs
  • identified the technology and infrastructure that needs to be in place for Day One
  • a good understanding of what rural assets exist and a plan in place for moving forward
  • have considered options for where the second Local Committee pilot will be located
  • identified any interim arrangements that need to be in place
  • a good understanding of the current fire services workforce so we can make arrangements with them about transitioning to FENZ, and;
  • started work on developing an identity for the new organisation, a website and an intranet.

We’re putting our presentations online and if you have time, please have a look at my most recent presentation to the Rural Fire Authorities Forum last week. It has more detail on where we’re up to and what’s next. This update, and other information about the Project’s background and progress, including resources for our leaders, is on our website. We’re updating it regularly so keep an eye out for new information, or follow us on our new Facebook page.

The next six months are going to be busy, if the first four are anything to go by. But the new year also brings with it opportunity for all of us to take part in building a flexible, modern and efficient fire service. One that works well, is well-funded and where our workforce and volunteers feel valued and supported. I am looking forward to it!

On that note, I do wish you and yours a restful and safe holiday season.

Merry Christmas

– David

Community-funded assets stay in the community

Hear Board Chair, Paul Swain, talk about the response assets FENZ will need access to on 1 July 2017.

You can also read the Asset Fact sheet for extra information.

Find out about local committees and pilots

Local committees and pilots – question and answer sheet

 Hear Paul Swain speak about local committees (video 3:55min) 

Read the Day One Blueprint

The Day One Blueprint (829 downloads) conveys the story of what Fire and Emergency New Zealand is expected to look like, and be able to do, from its first day, 1 July 2017 – what must be ready to go, and how it will get there.


The Blueprint is clear that Day One is the beginning – not the end – of the FENZ story. There will still be a lot of work for FENZ and stakeholders to do after 1 July 2017 to create a truly unified fire service for New Zealand. 

FENZ Transition Fact Sheets

We have a variety of fact sheets answering common questions relating to the establishment of Fire and Emergency New Zealand from 1 July 2017.

You can click on the links below to obtain a copy of each fact sheet. These can be used to distribute to the workforce (paid and volunteer), the community and others who have a relationship with the sector.

Read the fact sheet on: Assets and Fire and Emergency New Zealand – October 2016 (PDF 167kb)

DIA fire services Fact Sheets

The following fact sheets have been prepared by the DIA to provide answers to common questions relating to the Government’s decisions relating to the fire services sector.

Follow the URL link below to obtain a copy of each fact sheet. These can be used to distribute to the workforce (paid and volunteer), the community and others who have a relationship with the sector.



Timeline for the fire services reforms

1) Minister’s media release (27 May 2015): Submissions called for on Fire Services Review (Beehive website)

2) Discussion Document


3) Supplementary paper to the Discussion Document


4) Minister’s media release


5) Submissions on Discussion Document


1) Read the Minister’s media release 30/06/2016 (Beehive website)

2) Read the Minister’s First Reading Speech: Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill

3) Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill (PDF, 131 pages)

4) General policy statement (PDF, 80KB)

5) Read the Regulatory Impact Statements

6) Read the Disclosure statement (Legislation website)

7) Read the Submissions and Advice (Parliament website) 

8) Discussion Document: Proposed regulations to support Fire and Emergency New Zealand

9) Read an overview on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand: Legislation & Regulations


Sector News

One place to find out about Transition news and views from throughout the sector.