Message from Chief Executive Officer George Verry
The strong and proactive actions taken by the UFBA on behalf of members during the fire services reform was a key focus at the UFBA Conference in Christchurch from 28-30 October.
The FENZ Bill was introduced to Parliament on 30 June. The Bill takes an enabling and permissive approach to legislation rather than the prescriptive nature of the Fire Service Act 1975.
Section 17D of the Fire Service Act sets out that NZFS will consult with the UFBA as representatives of our members on fire service matters. However, the UFBA is not specifically named in the FENZ Bill as the advocate of our members.
This is of concern to members as for many years now, the UFBA has been an effective and prominent voice on behalf of brigades and rural fire forces.
Our interventions and contributions to the fire services reform process to date have served the cause of volunteerism well. The Minister, the New Zealand Fire Service Commission and others in the sector recognise we have made a positive difference with our considered, thoughtful and constructive input.
Over the past few months, the UFBA has been working hard with the NZFSC to reinforce and extend our recognised status as the advocate for our membership.
I am delighted that at our Conference on Friday 28 October, 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.
The intent of this Agreement is to:
- Establish a clear, certain, formal relationship between the parties that will bridge the transition period from the current regime to the fully integrated unified regime foreshadowed by the Minister’s Review, and
- Serve as a transitional agreement for the UFBA to make independent advocacy and support services available to FENZ volunteers who are members of the UFBA.
The volunteers who are members of the UFBA include both volunteer brigades and rural fire forces.
Through our Memorandum of Understanding with FRFANZ, we will continue to jointly represent the interests of rural fire forces that are members of FRFANZ. As well, we are implementing a programme to ensure the interests of fire forces that are not currently members of UFBA or FRFANZ are represented by UFBA/FRFANZ during the fire services reform.
31 October 2016
Pictured: NZFSC Chair Hon Paul Swain, Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Peter Dunne and UFBA Chair Rick Braddock
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