The Hon Paul Swain has endorsed the discussion document released recently on options for modernising New Zealand’s fire services.
Mr Swain wants people to have their say on how fire services should be managed and run to ensure they meet the needs of both urban and rural communities.
“We have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make sure we have fire services that are fit for the 21st century, and that operate seamlessly with all the other emergency service providers,” he said. “More importantly, whatever option is chosen, the discussion document has identified the need for more support for volunteer firefighters.”
Mr Swain lead an earlier review of the fire services in 2012. However the scope of the Fire Review Panel did not include funding or the employment frameworks. In response to the Panel’s report, the Government asked for a wider review that included those issues.
“This wider exploration, responding to and building on our work, has resulted in this excellent Discussion Document, and a robust set of options for change,” he said.
“My colleagues and I are delighted to see it’s driving in the same direction that we identified in our report in 2012,” said Mr Swain.
The Discussion Document looks at mandate and governance, legislation modernisation, funding, rural and urban fire services structures, coordination with other emergency services, and volunteer and workforce engagement and support.
“I urge people to look at the options and to put forward their views on what fire services they need in their own local communities.”
The Discussion Document and advice on making a submission are on the Department of Internal Affairs’ website, www.dia.govt.nz . Submissions close on 10 July 2015.