Within the last few weeks, Chairman Rick Braddock and CEO George Verry met with Minister of Internal Affairs Peter Dunne. This meeting was part of a programme UFBA follows to maintain regular contact with our Minister and the Government.
The UFBA reps provided background on UFBA activities since the last visit and this covered the Annual Conference and our programme of other events including challenges, competitions, leadership initiatives etc.
A major topic of discussion was the Fire Review Panel report and progress in implementing the recommendations of this report. Rick and George confirmed earlier advice that UFBA was very pleased with the report, was very supportive of all the recommendations, and keen to ensure these were progressing
The Minister said initial work had been done to develop new legislation to firstly ensure there was a proper legal mandate for the full area of work NZFS firefighters are now covering. He acknowledged UFBA (and NZFS) concerns regarding issues around funding due to Fire Service levy avoidance processes being followed by some organisations. Minister Dunne noted that tidying this up also required legislation change and this had been elevated on his and the Government agenda.
Unfortunately, the downside to this is, as noted by the Minister, is that the early election has constricted the opportunity to introduce new legislation, and this is likely to be deferred until after the election as the House goes into recess in July.
Rick Braddock and George Verry took the opportunity to stress the strong UFBA focus on sustainability of the fire and rescue work force and the need for surety of funding and other support to achieve this.
Hon Peter Dunne was thanked for his support of UFBA and UFBA pledged its strong interest in supporting a revision of the current legislation.
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