2015 UFBA Conference in brief

  Posted on 1st December 2015 by Loralee Hyde in UFBA News

2015 UFBA Conference in brief

Adding value for members

UFBA Chairman Rick Braddock applauded the intensity and drive of the actions taken by the UFBA Board and management to both represent the interests of members, particularly during the fire services review, and deliver constant strong support services.

“Everything we do is aimed at achieving the vision of the UFBA: Better, more sustainable emergency services for New Zealand communities,” he said.

In November 2014, a report commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers made observations and recommendations on the UFBA structure and capabilities, and included a recalculation of the volunteer contribution model completed in 2009 for the NZFS.

UFBA also commissioned professional business valuation firm, Esperance Capital, to provide an estimated valuation of the volunteer firefighter contribution to urban and rural communities. The conclusion was a conservative, but nonetheless staggering annual contribution value of $529 million.

In early 2015, UFBA worked together with PwC to visualise and determine the way forward for the Association.

The outcome was a UFBA strategy document that condensed key elements of future objectives and direction into a clear, succinct, one-page Strategic Plan.

Rick said UFBA now has a clearer perspective on how to add the most value to members, the communities they serve and to New Zealand’s fire services.

Financial Performance

The Board of Directors reported a deficit of income over expenditure of $82,134, largely due to significant expenditure on the PricewaterhouseCoopers and Esperance Capital reports that provided expert opinions to use as platforms for developing UFBA’s strategic direction and the Fire Services Review submission.

Notwithstanding this year’s deficit, UFBA continues to have a solid financial balance.

Accumulated funds stand at $664,608 and liquidity is strong in that current assets of $690,469 exceed current liabilities by $337,853.

See the full reports from the Chairman and the Board of Directors in the 2015 UFBA Annual Report (PDF, 3MB)

From the Patron

UFBA Patron Dame Margaret BazleyDame Margaret Bazley expressed her pride in being at Conference as Patron.

She was particularly impressed with the Minister’s announcement on the future of our fire services and said the developments will provide great challenges and opportunities for volunteers.

She felt it was a victory for the UFBA who has strongly advocated towards the proposed changes, and that the UFBA is well placed with a strong governance structure to lead the organisation through the upcoming changes.

New Officers and Directors

Russell Anderson and Mark AdiePresident for 2015/16, Russell Anderson, was installed at Conference by retiring President Mark Adie.

Alan Kittelty from Darfield was elected as Vice President for 2015/16.

Glenn Williams from Te Puke was elected for a further two year term on the Board of Directors.

Joe Manihera retired as Technical Panel Convenor and was thanked for his dedication and commitment by Challenges Committee Chairman Nigel Lilley.

The new member of the Technical Panel is Wayne Robinson from Carterton.

Benevolent Fund

Chairman Alan Cockburn expressed the great sadness of the passing of Past President Emrys Evans and acknowledged his long and outstanding service.

During the year, 16 applications were received and ex gratia payments of $23,300 were allocated.

A remit was passed to increase the annual contribution to the Fund from $2 per brigade member per annum to $5 - this will take effect with the NZFS grant payable on 15 October 2016.

NZFS Forum

Fire Service Commission Chair Wyatt Creech said the model announced for the new Fire Service will create a greater input for regional decision making through a collaboration of services.

A key aspect of the review is getting fit-for-purpose funding arrangements.

Mr Creech acknowledged the contributions of stakeholders, including the UFBA, throughout the consultation process.

He thanked all volunteers, along with their families, who make enormous sacrifices to ensure their communities are safe and protected.

National Commander Paul Baxter focused on the Fire Service’s first principle - safety. The recent safety summit, which was a first for the Fire Service and co-hosted by the UFBA, demonstrated a commitment to safety.

Referring to the recent media attention on bullying, Paul reiterated NZFS has a policy on bullying and that this is enforced vigorously. He encouraged everyone to Mind the Gap - this safety warning can, he thinks, be an analogy for the gap between how people in brigades have acted - and still act - and what is acceptable in society and the workplace today.

Presentations followed from Paul Smith and Kevin Crume on the Workplace Carcinogen Exposure Programme, Manager People Safety and Support Alison Barnes on changes to health and safety legislation, and National Property Manager Dominic Hare.

NZFS also provided written answers to questions from delegates.

National Rural Fire Authority

National Rural Fire Officer Kevin O'Connor travelled with the Minister during the Fire Services Review consultation phase and was highly impressed by the interest and positive views from firefighters, both urban and rural, and paid and unpaid, about a future integrated fire service.

Last year his challenge to the UFBA was to think and work on ways becoming more relevant to rural colleagues in the 187 VRFFs around the country.

His challenge this year is the same, but now to accept the challenge in the context of the fire services review and our new Fire Service.

Visit www.ufba.org.nz/events/2015_ufba_137th_annual_conference to download AGM Minutes, speeches, presentations and NZFS Forum Q&As and for links to Conference photos.

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