Chief Executive Officer Blog: 21 December 2017

  Posted on 21st December 2017 by Loralee Hyde in UFBA blog, UFBA News

Looking forward to the challenges ahead

As expected, 2017 has proved a big year for both UFBA/FRFANZ and our members.

The transition phase of Fire and Emergency NZ which amalgamated 40 organisations into one on 1 July was a huge challenge for all of us—a challenge that we met with an outstanding level of effective advocacy with very positive outcomes for members.

Over the next three years during the integration phase of Fire and Emergency NZ, we and our members will face more challenges and opportunities as we work toward the new direction for Fire and Emergency NZ as set out in the new legislation which includes designing a targeted operating model.

I am proud of the work the UFBA/FRFANZ is doing to represent the interests of our members and meet their needs during the integration. And equally proud of our member brigades/rural fire forces and their personnel (most of whom are volunteers) who are involved in contributing their feedback and input into the new direction as well as continuing to voluntarily protect lives and property in their communities.

Rick Braddock’s term as UFBA Board Chair is expiring

The UFBA is facing a major internal change with an upcoming change of Board Chair.

Rick Braddock’s final term on the UFBA Board as Chair expires in June 2018.

The UFBA has very much appreciated Rick’s professionalism and business acumen during his time as Chair of the UFBA Board for the last five and a half years.

His relationship building skills with our members and stakeholders including the Fire and Emergency NZ Board and Senior Leadership Team have greatly contributed to the achievements of our advocacy organisation, particularly during the challenging time since the Government released a Fire Services Review Discussion Document in May 2015.

The UFBA Board has now put an appointment process in place to appoint an independent Director from 1 July 2018.

Access psychological wellbeing support from UFBA

The fast approaching Christmas and the New Year period can be a challenging time of year for our people, their families and communities.

I am pleased to report that UFBA/FRFANZ along with our union and association partners have worked closely together with Fire and Emergency NZ on putting processes in place that will ensure everyone is able to access the psychological wellbeing support they need during the festive season.

Click here to find out how to access psychological wellbeing support if needed over the festive season from UFBA and Fire and Emergency NZ.

Co-design work with Fire and Emergency NZ

UFBA/FRFANZ have been extensively involved in collaborative development of the Fire and Emergency NZ Blueprint 2017-20 along with other stakeholders including associations, unions and the Department of Internal Affairs.

See more about the Blueprint and associated Road Map

We will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of our members during the next three years to ensure their needs are met during the delivery of the Blueprint (Workplan).

Availability and Messaging System (AMS)

There is a need for Fire and Emergency NZ to have accurate, up-to-date information about the availability of volunteers and the wider organisation (for example Incident Management teams) to respond to fires and emergencies.

An Availability and Messaging System (AMS) Reference Group of operational stakeholders - including UFBA/FRFANZ members to give a volunteer perspective - have helped confirm business requirements.

See an update about the development of an AMS solution

Leadership Development: UFBA Workshops

The UFBA Leading Psychological Wellbeing Pilot Workshop (participants are picured above) was held in October and we are currently reviewing this course based on feedback received from the participants.

We have three Leading Psychological Wellbeing Workshops coming up in the first half of 2018.

However, we strongly recommend you attend a UFBA Leadership and Governance Workshop (see paragraph below for details) before you apply for the new Leading Psychological Wellbeing Workshop

We held our 14th highly valued UFBA Leadership & Governance Workshop in Wellington in late November. There are now 217 graduates of this programme throughout New Zealand – a group of immense value to UFBA/FRFANZ advocacy, particularly in providing feedback and input into co-design work we are doing with Fire and Emergency NZ.

The Leadership & Governance Workshop enhances skills that will benefit your personal life, career and fire and emergency services. Apply now for an upcoming 2018 Leadership & Governance Workshop

2017 Australasian Firefighters Championship: A resounding success

Congratulations to the New Zealand teams for doing so well (it was a clean sweep!) at the Australasian Firefighters Championship in Carterton from 17-19 November with Matamata (pictured) taking out first place overall.

Hosted by the UFBA in conjunction with the Carterton Volunteer Fire Brigade, 21 teams from around New Zealand, across Australia and Fiji competed at this biennial event over two days of intense competition.

UFBA is proud of the excellent results of the New Zealand teams. Our congratulations to the overall winner and place getters:

I very much appreciated Fire and Emergency NZ Chief Executive Rhys Jones, Board Deputy Chair Nicola Crauford and National Urban Commander Paul McGill attending the event which gave them an insight into the skills and expertise of our firefighters and opportunities to network with competitors and officials.

See more about this successful event

Register for the UFBA 2018 Waterway Challenge season

With such an amazing result at the Australasian Firefighters Championship inspiring competitors around the country, register now for the 2018 UFBA Waterway Season:

Register your team now

Keith Nixon retires

On 23 December, Keith Nixon hangs up his level twos as he retires following more than 43 years of active service as a firefighter.

In his spare time, Keith is well known for his work as Chair of the New Zealand Firefighters Welfare Society, an organisation he helped to establish in its formative years. His demonstrated passion for this organisation and the people it serves has been outstanding.  Keith intends to remain in an active role with NZFFWS for the foreseeable future.

Find out more about Keith’s dedicated service here We wish him well in his ‘semi-retirement’.

Abuse of our firefighters is not acceptable

On Sunday 10 December, a group of youths threw bottles at a Tuakau Volunteer Fire Brigade fire appliance when the firefighters were returning from helping Pukekohe Volunteer Fire Brigade fight a fire.

This kind of behaviour from members of the public is not acceptable. The majority of our firefighters voluntarily give up their time to protect lives and properties in their local communities.

We know the value of services provided by our 12,000 fire and emergency volunteers is around $530 million per annum. This is effectively the annual sum of the sacrifices, trade-offs and earning opportunities foregone by volunteers, their families and employers.

See a well-received joint media release from the UFBA and Volunteering New Zealand

Thanks for all the work you do!

UFBA/FRFANZ thanks all our members (and their families and employers) for all the hard work you have done and the time you have given this year to protect and support your local communities.

We are proud of all brigade and fire force members for their service and commitment to fire and emergency services, their communities and our country. Please stay safe, healthy and well.

The UFBA office closes at midday on 22 December and reopens on 8 January. Our very best wishes for the festive season and we look forward to catching up with you during 2018.


21 December 2017

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