Message from George Verry, Chief Executive Officer
On Thursday 18 August, UFBA and FRFANZ submitted a joint submission on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill to the Government Administration Committee.
Our submission on the Bill is the latest step in a process initiated and led by Minister Peter Dunne—which started off with the release by the Government of the Fire Services Review Discussion Document in May 2015.
The Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill was introduced to Parliament on 30 June 2016 to repeal the two Acts governing New Zealand’s fire services (the Fire Service Act 1975 and the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977) and to give effect to a single unified fire services organisation (FENZ).
The UFBA/FRFANZ joint submission was the culmination of a significant amount of work during the few weeks available, covering in-depth research, widespread consultation with volunteer fire brigades and rural fire forces and seeking feedback from members through an online survey.
Plain language analysis
In line with our member consultation process during the fire services reform, we asked for feedback from a representative cross-section of our membership on the FENZ Bill in a number of ways.
As a first step—and for ease of reading of understanding—UFBA Director Bill Butzbach and consultant Murray McKee put together a short but impactful 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.
To inform members and to ensure we reflected their views in our submission, we asked for feedback through:
- Placing the plain language analysis on our website for downloading (or download below)
- Sharing the analysis in the UFBA E-newsletter to over 4,350 subscribers
- Posting a link on our Facebook page.
Although a short timeframe was necessary due to the limited time we had available to draft the submission, we received a good number of well considered and thoughtful comments from members on a range of issues.
As the next step, we arranged a consultation roadshow covering key areas of the country where, in particular, rural fire forces have a strong presence. Our primary objective was to make sure the views of rural firefighters were reflected in our submission.
Director Bill Butzbach and consultant Murray McKee were again to the fore, attending these consultation meetings to talk through the issues and allay concerns.
To ensure we received feedback from personnel right through the country, we invited individuals to ‘have their say’ by completing a short online survey. We accomplished this by:
- Sending the survey to over 4.350 individuals on the UFBA database
- Providing a link to the survey on our website
- Asking Leadership and Governance Workshop graduates to share the survey with others in their brigades.
Again, a short timeframe for completing the survey was essential. However, we were delighted to receive over 250 responses—an indication of how important the main issues are to members.
Following the extensive member consultation, 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.
Making a combined UFBA/FRFANZ submission is a tremendous strength, as this is a clear demonstration we are representing the interests of the wide range of volunteers in our fire services.
Thank you to those who took the time and consideration to provide feedback on the Bill. You made a valuable contribution to the UFBA/FRFANZ submission on behalf of members. Download our submission here or below.
I also thank our Leadership and Governance Workshop graduates who encouraged others in their brigades to complete the online survey. This group of graduates is proving a valuable advocacy resource for the UFBA.
UFBA and FRFANZ have asked to be heard at the Select Committee hearing on the FENZ Bill which is likely to be some weeks away. We will continue to keep you informed on a regular basis.
Future strategy and resourcing
In the short term, we are continuing to run our roadshow, generally to more remote areas. This will provide us with more insights that will prove useful when we speak at the Select Committee.
As we move toward the FENZ implementation date of 1 July 2017, we plan to revisit the UFBA Strategic Plan and underpinning actions so we are well positioned to support our membership and our MoU arrangements with FRFANZ.
To respond to the upcoming challenges, I am pleased to advise I have appointed Ceara Owen-Perry to a new position of General Manager, effective immediately. Ceara will report to me and one of her first tasks will be to initiate the strategic review and assess any consequent changes required to our staffing and other resources.
Ceara is well qualified for her new role and will continue to manage our event and conference programme. To ensure we meet event needs, we are employing an additional resource in the Events Team.
26 August 2016
For ease of reading and understanding, the UFBA has put together a short but impactful plain language analysis of the FENZ Bill from a volunteer perspective
On Thursday 18 August, UFBA and FRFANZ submitted a joint submission on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill to the Government Administration Committee
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