As you are aware there were concerns amongst some brigades that the UFBA along with Fire and Emergency NZ and Police signed the recent Memorandum of Understanding regarding firearms training at volunteer fire stations without prior consultation. The signing was towards the principle of the potential use of fire stations but only dependent upon direct consultation and agreement by each of the brigades listed.
A consultation schedule has been put together that identifies the appropriate Fire and Emergency NZ Area Manager or representative and the brigade they are to consult with. Ongoing throughout June twenty-three Area Managers will be meeting with between 1-4 stations each to personally discuss the project further and determine whether a station participates or not. Progress has been made with all nine listed stations within Region 5 agreeing to allow use of their facilities. This may offer recruitment opportunities and community engagement in the hard to recruit Southland area.
We’d like to reiterate that it was never compulsory for brigades to agree to the use of their station and consultation has already helped identify that some stations will not be appropriate. Police is also seeking help from firearms clubs to provide community-based mentoring as part of a wider joined up approach utilising local community resources. Furthermore the list of 55 stations which was not intended to be publicly available meant many brigades were unduly concerned, since their stations were not even under consideration. Further updates will follow once the consultation process is complete.
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