Leadership Structure of FENZ on 1 July, 2017
16 December, 2016 – EMBARGOED UNTIL 1PM
After careful consideration on a range of options, the Board has decided on the leadership structure of
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), which is to be established on 1 July, 2017.
Given the changes in the sector being planned from 1 July, the Board considers it extremely important
that our core services continue with minimal disruption. For this reason, the majority of roles at the
operational level of urban and rural fire will not change from 1 July. At the same time, the Board
considers that FENZ needs a national leadership team structure that is best suited to both managing
those changes and making sure business as usual can continue uninterrupted.
At the national level, it is important that the Chief Executive of FENZ is able to focus on things like the
change needed to establish a unified urban and rural fire and emergency service, the introduction of
the new levy system and the establishment of the local committees. It is equally important that the
operational leaders of both urban and rural fire and emergency services focus on operational issues
and as such are able to make sure that the community continues to receive the excellent services that
our people currently deliver.
A summary of the Board’s decisions are as follows:
The majority of existing structures and roles will remain unchanged from 1 July 2017.
Urban Operations: There will be no change to the organisational structure for urban fire
operations up to and including Fire Region Managers (FRMs). Area Managers in each existing
Fire Service Region will continue to report to the appropriate FRM.
Rural Operations: There will be no change to the roles engaged solely on rural fire operations
up to and including Principal Rural Fire Officers (PRFOs).
Boundaries: Legislated urban and rural boundaries will effectively be removed by law. However,
these remain in place for operational reasons from 1 of July.
Establish five fixed term roles of Regional Manager Rural (RMR). Given that Rural Fire
Authorities will be disestablished from 1 July, we need to create some interim organisational
arrangements for rural fire. The new roles will be responsible for a geographical area similar to
the current urban fire regional boundaries. PRFO’s in those areas will report to the RMR. The
RMRs will be either seconded from existing PRFOs for two years, or be recruited from roles that
have operational rural fire experience. The RMRs will report to the National Manager Rural role
The Board will establish several other new roles for FENZ, to be effective from 1 July 2017:
A permanent FENZ Chief Executive: This role will focus on, among other things, establishing the
new unified fire and emergency services organisation (FENZ), introducing the new levy system
that will fund the new organisation and overseeing the introduction of the new local committees
that will provide local input into national planning. Applicants will require knowledge and
understanding of fire and emergency services.
A fixed term role of National Commander Urban (NCU): This role will have delegated
operational authority and be responsible for strategic and operational service delivery of urban fire
and emergency services. This includes maintaining the current level of urban response, so that
the 111 system continues and the trucks still roll out the door on 1 July. The NCU will also be
responsible for ensuring our people return home safely, that they have the necessary training and
equipment to do their jobs, and the right person is in charge during any major emergency. The
NCU will be a fixed term role of two years and will be a member of the Strategic Leadership Team
(SLT) reporting to the Chief Executive.
A fixed term role of National Manager Rural (NMR): This position will replace role of the current
National Rural Fire Officer (NFRO). The role will have delegated operational authority and will
include the current NRFO responsibilities, as well as the operational/management responsibilities
for rural fire service delivery across the country. The new Regional Manager Rural roles will report
to the NMR. The NMR will be a fixed term role of two years and will be a member of the SLT
reporting to the Chief Executive.
Current Chief Executive & National Commander:
The Board is pleased to confirm the current New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) Chief Executive &
National Commander, Paul Baxter, will remain in this role until 30 June, 2017. His leadership will be
essential in maintaining service to our communities, preparing the organisation for the transition, and
leading the SLT and the wider organisation through the changes.
FENZ CE, NCU and NMR roles: The Board has instructed a recruitment agency to undertake a
search for suitable candidates for these roles.
RMR roles: These appointments will be made through an open selection process from rural fire
staff, on secondment for a two-year term, or from other applicants with equivalent rural fire sector
knowledge and experience. The NMR, once appointed, will be involved in the selection process
for these roles.
All appointments are planned to be in place by 1 July, 2017.
Impact of the decisions:
The National Rural Fire Officer role will be disestablished on 30 June 2017.
The Deputy National Commander role will be disestablished on 30 June 2017.
The fixed term role of NZFS Chief Executive & National Commander will come to an end on 30
Remainder of NZFS Strategic Leadership Team (SLT):
The remaining NZFS SLT roles will transition to FENZ on 1 July, 2017. There may be future changes
in SLT roles as we move through the next phase of urban and rural fire integration.
The Board is confident that these decisions will ensure FENZ can build on the outstanding level of
service currently provided to New Zealand communities.
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