Submission on dispute resolution process

The UFBA plays a vital role in supporting brigade members going through conflict, disputes or making complaints. While many of you will never have pursued the dispute resolution process (which is a positive thing) it is something that needs to be accessible by everyone, for when things are not going well during your service.

Prior to 2017 we campaigned to ensure you always had an independent option to support you when you need it and as a result the FENZ Act now states that the statutory scheme for disputes must be based on the following principles: accessibility, independence, fairness, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

We have been working under an interim dispute resolution scheme while a more permanent solution is being designed – which is a requirement of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 (sections 178 et al). 

The Act requires that FENZ consults with the people who will be impacted by the scheme and then have the scheme rules approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs.  The UFBA has been engaged in a high-level consultation with FENZ on behalf of our members, and earlier last year sought feedback from you on the initial proposed rules.  Many of the recommendations we made to FENZ at that time have been incorporated in the final proposal.  Now that the proposed rules have been drafted we are now seeking comment from you, our members, so that we may make a final submission on your behalf.

This is an important piece of policy as it will provide a framework for all future conflicts and disputes that proceed to a formal process.  The UFBA will always advocate for disputes to be resolved at the lowest level possible, but many times it is necessary to escalate issues to a formal process and these rules will become the scheme under which these issues will be handled. 

We’ve supported a growing number of cases (over 100 this last year) so it is important we get this right, to ensure all future disputes have an independent, clear and accessible process.

What we need you to do…

In the links below are the proposed Rules, and an easy-read summary of the Rules (prepared by FENZ) in case you have no desire to work through a legal document.

We urge you to send feedback to as many of the provisions as you wish, by emailing us at

We will consolidate all feedback and send a consolidated submission on behalf of the UFBA and our members.

And when to do it by….

We look forward to receiving your comments, by 31 January to give us time to prepare our formal submission.

If you would prefer to make your own submission direct to Fire and Emergency NZ you can find more information here.


FENZ Disputes Resolution Scheme proposed Rules
Download File (pdf, 358KB, last modified January 09 2020)

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