Chief Executive Officer Blog: 28 February 2018

  Posted on 28th February 2018 by Loralee Hyde in UFBA blog, UFBA News

UFBA/FRFANZ: Meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs

CEO Bill ButzbachUFBA/FRFANZ representatives including UFBA Chair Rick Braddock, FRFANZ Chair Kevin Ihaka, UFBA Stakeholder Manager Ceara Owen-Perry, adviser Murray McKee and myself, met with the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Hon Tracey Martin, on 15 February.

This initial meeting with the new Minister is part of our strategy to maintain regular contact with the Minister and the Government.

This will enable us to provide updates on the work UFBA/FRFANZ is doing to represent the interests of our members and discuss issues relating to the fire and emergency services sector.

Full briefing of UFBA/FRFANZ work

The meeting was very positive and established we have expectations in common regarding the fire and emergency services reform progressing so the programme benefits both communities and volunteers.

Hon Tracey Martin

The Minister is from a rural background and she expressed a close affinity with rural firefighters and an understanding of the issues they face. She acknowledged the benefits that a merger between UFBA and FRFANZ would bring for both rural and urban volunteers.

On behalf of our members, we provided the Minister with a full briefing of the work UFBA/FRFANZ is undertaking and key issues for the sector including:

See the full UFBA/FRFANZ Briefing to the Minister here

Youth Cadet Scheme

A major topic of discussion was the development of a national fire and emergency services cadet scheme.

With having had links to youth training, the Minister is keen to see a cadet scheme get underway. She noted the benefits of youth training for supporting the sustainability of volunteer brigades / rural fire forces and for strengthening emergency management skills and awareness within communities.

We detailed how UFBA has already led a three-year multi-agency pilot programme to train 170 15 to 19-year-old students in risk awareness and emergency response skills and confirmed we have had discussions with Fire and Emergency NZ about the need to develop and implement a cadet scheme throughout New Zealand.

On behalf of our members, we outlined our future vision of UFBA/FRFANZ having a role in building and supporting such a cadet scheme and how we intend seeking alternative funding streams for this work.

Diversity and inclusion

The Minister also noted her interest in enhancing diversity and embracing inclusion in our volunteer brigades and rural fire forces including recruiting more women to better reflect the communities they serve.

We stressed UFBA/FRFANZ have strategies in place to encourage diversity and create a more inclusive environment including increasing the numbers of women attending our leadership and development training and our annual conference.

The future

The Minister indicated a desire to meet UFBA/FRFANZ on a regular basis for updates on progress with the fire and emergency reforms from our perspective and to build a positive ongoing relationship.

I will continue to update members on our relationship with the Minister as we move through the three-year integration phase of Fire and Emergency NZ.


28 February 2018

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