This page provides a summary of the actions and advocacy undertaken by the UFBA/FRFANZ on behalf of members during the transition to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and now through the three-year integration phase.
Click on the links below to find out more about each action and the outcomes.
Download this summary of UFBA/FRFANZ Advocacy and Support Services for Fire and Emergency New Zealand volunteers.
On the same day the Government released a Fire Services Review Discussion Document, UFBA issued a media statement
, saying we would consult with member brigades and fire forces to get their views and make an independent submission. See UFBA Media Release Fire Services Review
Just two days later, UFBA emailed a summary of the main issues and a comprehensive Fire Services Review Consultation Questionnaire
to all brigades and rural fire forces, asking Chief Fire Officers to consult with their brigades and complete the questionnaire. See Have your say in reviewing fire services
To obtain responses of volunteers as individuals, UFBA sent the Fire Services Review Consultation Questionnaire as an online survey
to the 4,000 members of UFBA member brigades who have signed up to receive UFBA News. See UFBA Fire Services Review Consultation Questionnaire
Throughout June, UFBA completed a significant research study and identified key strategies - including the continuing independence of brigades, fostering and support of volunteerism, updating the law to protect against any liability for fire and non-fire services provided, and a Volunteer Charter to be agreed.
We also instigated a Telephone Tree, with UFBA leaders around the country contacting more than 100 brigades and individuals to answer queries about the main issues and our consultation questionnaire.
We received an excellent return of over 650 consultation survey responses from brigades and individuals. Members who responded, strongly supported the continued independence of brigades. Any reforms must therefore bring with them more representation of volunteers and their needs at all levels of the structure. Volunteerism must be fostered and supported.
We combined the results of our research study and the key strategies with members’ views to form the UFBA submission on behalf of members
. The UFBA was confident the submission reflected members' views and provided an informed analysis of current and relevant issues. Download our submission and associated documents at UFBA Fire Services Review Submission
Minister Peter Dunne released a statement on 7 August regarding the extensive consultation around the Fire Services Review. Mr Dunne said consultation meetings around the country and the submissions had together sent a strong message in favour of change.
He said he would keep stakeholders involved to work through the best way to achieve greater coordination and integration, and better support for firefighters. UFBA continued to represent members' interests in ongoing consultation. See Broad support for changes to our fire services
In late September, Minister Peter Dunne hosted a forum to update stakeholders including the UFBA on the common themes that emerged during the Fire Services Review consultation. In response to consultation feedback, the three options presented in the Discussion Document in May had been modified with a view to strengthening community engagement in the delivery of fire services. The new option developed combines a unified fire service with strong regional influence.
From feedback, it is clear the UFBA Fire Services Review Submission was well received. UFBA will continue to participate in the review process including in transition planning to a new Fire Service. See Fire Services Review Update October
At the 2015 UFBA Annual Conference in Wellington, Minister Peter Dunne announced the proposed future structure for the Fire Service. The Government will bring together volunteer, career, urban and rural firefighters together in one, unified new national fire service.
Mr Dunne formally thanked the UFBA for their outstanding participation in this whole process and for providing a strong, clear and influential voice throughout this review. The UFBA will continue to work closely with DIA including on planning the transition to the new Fire Service. See New Fire Services Structure: UFBA continues with consultation
Only 37 of our country's 187 rural fire forces are UFBA members - you can see these here
. We intend to represent the interests of our rural members
on issues such as: the need to continue the community based focus of volunteer forces; funding for training, resources and equipment; and promoting the importance of local leadership.
As a key stakeholder, the UFBA is continuing to represent the interests of our members as the Fire Services Review Team works through the early transition design phase to a new Fire Service. UFBA Director Bill Butzbach and consultant Murray McKee are meeting with the team on matters that affect our members
. See Fire Services Review: Working on the detail
On 8 March, we convened a full day workshop of the UFBA Board to consider a report prepared by Director Bill Butzbach and consultant Murray McKee on the progress of the review from our members’ point of view and to identify matters of importance in the work to date. At this stage, many of the proposals on policy issues have a low level of definition, rather than a precise road map with specific routes, waypoints and milestones.
We continue to liaise with National Rural Fire Officer Kevin O’Connor on strategies to raise our profile amongst non-UFBA member rural fire forces and to encourage them to join our advocacy organisation so we can represent their interests.
On 12 February we mailed 143 rural fire forces who are not UFBA members with information on what we do and the benefits of joining - and on how UFBA has represented the interests of rural fire forces during the Fire Services Review. We have received a number of expressions of interest. Chief Executive Officer George Verry is phoning Principal Rural Fire Officers to keep them up to date with our actions.
1. The Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the UFBA along with the Chief Executive of NZFS met with Paul Swain, the Chair of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission, shortly after his appointment.
2. The NZFSC Board and senior leaders held a two-day planning session at the National Training Centre in Rotorua in mid-May. The UFBA prepared a comprehensive paper for the session detailing how we speak for all 400 volunteer fire brigades and many rural fire forces, their members and the communities they serve.
3. The Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the UFBA met with the NZFSC Board on 17 May and reinforced the key points of our paper prepared for the NZFSC Board’s planning session and our recommendations.
4. We also presented the UFBA 2016-2017 Business Plan to the NZFSC Board—this seeks for additional resources to advocate for our members’ interests during the fire services reform and to support volunteer members e.g. in conflict and dispute resolution
5. A number of rural fire forces belong to FRFANZ (Forest and Rural Fire Association). We are working in partnership with FRFANZ on common interests.
The UFBA continues to strongly support members during the transition to a new unified organisation by proactively providing input into the fire services reform processes.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) published a fact sheet Background – Supporting the fire services' workforce
. See Fire services reform: The devil is in the detail
for how the UFBA is supporting members during the during the fire services reform
and our comments on the DIA fact sheet.
On 27 June, the Board and senior staff working on the reform process met for a full day workshop. The outcome of discussion was that we would urgently: a) Seek to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with the NZFSC Board to cement formally the role of UFBA as the representative advocate for the current membership
, and b) That having already clearly expressed our concerns of the potential implications of a ‘direct relationship’ between volunteer brigades and the new FENZ organisation at all levels, we would seek an early meeting with the Minister to convey and reinforce our members’ views on this matter
. See more at Fire services reform: Our key areas of focus
The Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill was introduced on 30 June to set up a single organisation responsible for urban and rural fire services. The UFBA Chairman and other representatives met with the Minister on Monday 4 July to discuss our key areas of concern
. See more details at FENZ legislation introduced
UFBA and FRFANZ (Forest and Rural Fire Association of New Zealand) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to make sure fire brigades and rural fire forces have a single powerful voice
as our fire and emergency services transition to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ). See UFBA and FRFANZ sign Memorandum of Understanding
July saw a burst of activity with the first reading of the FENZ Bill on 5 July. UFBA representatives met with both the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Peter Dunne and the NZFSC Chair Paul Swain to discuss our concerns
including the lack of clarity around the proposed direct engagement model, the uncertainty surrounding the future status of volunteer brigades and the future status and funding arrangements of the UFBA. We also attended a FENZ transition stakeholder seminar/workshop
in Wellington along with approximately 180 stakeholders from a wide range of organisations. See more at A successful year of proactive UFBA advocacy
For ease of reading and understanding, the UFBA put together a short plain language analysis of the FENZ Bill from a volunteer perspective
. Our analysis emphasised points in the Bill that our members, in particular volunteers, would consider most relevant. We also sought feedback from members on the specific provisions of the Bill we are focusing on during our member consultation by inviting members to ‘have their say’ through a short survey
. We were delighted with the strong response in the limited time available. See the plain language analysis at FENZ Bill survey
UFBA and FRFANZ submitted a joint submission on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill
to the Government Administration Committee. The submission was the culmination of a significant amount of work during a few weeks since then covering in-depth research, widespread consultation with volunteer fire brigades and rural fire forces and seeking feedback from individual members through an online survey. We believe our submission presents a sound and thorough examination of the FENZ Bill
and addresses issues identified by our organisations and membership in a logical and constructive way. See more at UFBA and FRFANZ Submission FENZ Bill
The UFBA and FRFANZ addressed the Government Administration Committee on issues in the FENZ Bill
identified by our organisations and members. We were privileged to be among the few submitters to have an extended hearing time at the Committee and came away very positive about the opportunity to be heard. The hearing provided yet another opportunity to demonstrate the joint commitment of the UFBA and FRFANZ to our arrangement under the MoU
to work together. See more at FENZ Bill Select Committee Hearing
UFBA and FRFANZ have undertaken widespread consultation on the FENZ Bill
with volunteer fire brigades and rural fire forces across most regions of the country. It became evident very early on in the roadshow that there is a large demand for information about the FENZ transition. There is also a multitude of misinformation about the transition process. We recorded a substantial amount of information at the meetings—this will reinforce the quality of the UFBA/FRFANZ contributions to the FENZ transition process
over the next few years. See FENZ Bill member consultation
NZFSC Chair Hon Paul Swain and UFBA Chair Rick Braddock signed a Transitional Advocacy and Support Agreement
in the presence of the Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Peter Dunne. This agreement provides for the UFBA to continue as the advocate for our members
until the completion of the fire services reform. See more about this important agreement at Transitional Advocacy and Support Agreement
At the 2016 Conference, UFBA Director Bill Butzbach reported on the extensive consultation and effective advocacy undertaken by the UFBA
during the fire services reform. Bill also covered our recent achievements and how UFBA/FRFANZ are fostering a partnership approach with the FENZ Transition Team
on a large number of co-design proposals. See more at Fire services reform update
To provide a sounding board on various positions, issues or other considerations, we have established a UFBA Advocacy Reference Panel
with Board Director Glenn Williams as Chair. We will draw on the experience and expertise of members around the country (volunteer, career, urban and rural) to form the panel—the make-up of which will vary according to the needs at the time. See more at UFBA proactive advocacy
The FENZ Transition Team asked the UFBA for assistance with forming a group of volunteers (VCRG) to provide input and feedback on various co-design projects. We consulted with expert members including those in the UFBA Advocacy Reference Panel and Leadership & Governance graduate group and were delighted with the response of members—58% of the accepted applicants for the VCRG are Leadership & Governance Workshop graduates.
The UFBA is making sure the NZFSC, NZFS and FENZ Transition Team listen to the strong, united voice of all brigades—career, volunteer, urban, rural and industrial
. See more detail on our current work with FENZ on co-design projects, the positive outcomes of recommendations the UFBA/FRFANZ made in our joint submission on the FENZ Bill, the FENZ Volunteer Co-Design Reference Group and the FENZ Chief Executive role at Taking action for all brigades
The FENZ Volunteer Working Group consisting of experienced and expert volunteers from a wide range of volunteer brigades and rural fire forces
met for the first time in Wellington on 25 and 26 February to provide input and feedback to FENZ on proposed strategies and initiatives. UFBA Director Bill Butzbach also attended this meeting. See more about this Working Group and members’ views about the outcomes of the workshop at FENZ Volunteer Working Group
The UFBA Board (in particular, Director Bill Butzbach), management, members and FRFANZ representatives are continuing to work closely with the FENZ Transition Team on projects relevant to our members. This includes working on the co-design of ‘four pillars’ of the Volunteer Strategy: (1) The new relationship volunteers may have with FENZ, (2) Day One Initiatives, (3) Dispute resolution and (4) Future advocacy and support
. See more about this work at Making positive contributions to FENZ
The UFBA continues to work closely together with FRFANZ to represent the interests of both urban and rural volunteer firefighters
during the transition to FENZ. One of our key objectives is to strengthen leadership skills in rural fire forces. To help meet this objective, we are running a special Leadership & Governance Workshop for rural firefighters
to provide this valued experience as we all meet the challenges of the transition to the new environment. See more at Strengthening leadership skills in rural fire forces
Our liaison with FRFANZ continues to grow
. In particular, we are assisting FRFANZ to advocate the causes of their membership, including assisting with communications
to keep rural fire forces up to date about our work. We are also working with FRFANZ directors on setting up their Annual Conference and AGM in Auckland in August. Find out more about our collaboration at UFBA/FRFANZ collaboration
UFBA/FRFANZ are recognised by Fire and Emergency New Zealand as key partners for providing advocacy and support services to our members
. We also have a high level of understanding of the processes of the two new Fire and Emergency NZ dispute resolution processes—the Volunteer Issues and Interim Dispute Resolution Processes. Individual Fire and Emergency New Zealand volunteers can access advocacy and support services provided by UFBA/FRFANZ for any dispute, complaint or conflict, free of charge
. Find out more at
Member advocacy and support services
The Fire and Emergency NZ Board is able to prescribe physical and psychological health standards
to ensure operational personnel can perform duties that may be required of them without undue risk to their safety, health and wellbeing. UFBA Deputy Chair Glenn Williams
is representing the interests of UFBA members on a working party formed to work with the Fire and Emergency NZ Safety, Health and Wellbeing project team on what this might mean for members. Kevin Ihaka
is representing FRFANZ members. See more at Health standards for operational personnel
UFBA/FRFANZ Advocacy and Support Services
UFBA/FRFANZ Actions: Fire and Emergency NZ Integration
A PDF of the complete timeline above
UFBA Actions FENZ Transition One Page Feb 2017
UFBA Actions Fire Services Reform One Page Nov 2016
UFBA Actions Fire Services Reform One Page Oct 2016