Wellington, Friday 7 July 2017 – Chief Fire Officer of Martinborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, Bill Butzbach, has been chosen to head the United Fire Brigades’ Association (UFBA)—the advocacy organisation that represents 12,000 firefighters, with 80% being volunteers.
With a 41 year career spanning senior strategic roles in the sector along with firefighting experience in urban, rural, volunteer and paid areas, Bill has a unique perspective on the issues facing New Zealand’s fire and emergency services and firefighters—both volunteer and paid.
UFBA Chair Rick Braddock says Bill is the ideal person to take up the role of Chief Executive Officer now that Fire and Emergency New Zealand has launched.
“As well as providing a broader mandate for emergency services work, a key purpose of the new legislation is to provide additional support for our volunteers to ensure people feel safe and secure in their local communities,” Mr Braddock says.
“With a person of Bill’s calibre as Chief Executive Officer and with our close working relationship with the Forest and Rural Fire Association (FRFANZ), the UFBA continues to be in a strong position to provide one united voice for all our members to influence decisions that affect our fire and emergency services.”
Bill joined the UFBA Board as an appointed director in 2013 and again in 2015. After the Government released a Fire Services Review Discussion Document in May 2015, which set out options to review and reform the structure and funding of rural and urban fire services, he helped advocate for UFBA members and to produce the UFBA Fire Services Review Submission and the joint UFBA/FRFANZ submission on the Bill.
Most recently Bill has worked with the FENZ Project Team on the co-design of a range of better support for all volunteers to recognise, respect and promote their contributions including volunteer engagement with the organisation, dispute resolution and advocacy and support services.
“Bill has long-standing relationships with our members around the country—urban, rural, volunteer, paid, industry and defence—and has a deep understanding of their needs and the challenges they face,” Mr Braddock says.
“Bill is committed to ensuring the UFBA achieves its strategic goals, meets its vision of safe sustainable communities and that it continues as a robust, professional and innovative advocacy organisation.”
Bill, who will continue in his volunteer role at Martinborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, is expected to take up his new position within the next few weeks. He takes over from George Verry who announced his decision to step down after nine years as CEO once Fire and Emergency New Zealand was launched.
Mr Braddock says George Verry's contribution to the UFBA and helping to guide the organisation and its membership through the new legislation process has been invaluable.
7 July 2017
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