There is no denying this has been a hard year financially for many people and businesses across New Zealand, and the fire and emergency sector is by no means an exception. Fire and Emergency have seen a reduction of around 5% in the Fire Levy that funds the service and consequently, are taking a cautious and measured approach to how they make savings across their entire business. Commendably they are focusing on ways to make savings that do not impact on jobs or the ability to respond to emergencies.
How does this impact the UFBA?
Since 2017 the UFBA has relied on an operational grant from Fire and Emergency to enable us to assist in fulfilling legislative obligations under Section 36 and 37 of the Fire and Emergency Act, and support shared goals in serving our members. Fire and Emergency recognise a need for ‘Identifying savings that are variable and reversible.’ Simply not providing the UFBA with the operating grant would not be a tenable solution as it is not reversible.
We do not take this money for granted and the funding we receive goes directly towards our service delivery – bringing together brigade members for events and workshops, providing sector advocacy and individual advocacy and support service across the country, maintaining time-honoured Service Honours and more.
So what are we doing to lighten the load?
We’ve reflected Fire and Emergency’s cost-saving approach, without compromising delivery by adapting our services this year including:
- Reduced travel and accommodation costs by taking workshops online and taking a single facilitator to regions to minimise multiple attendee’s travel.
- Cancellation of physical conference opting for online keynotes to retain learning and support partner and member engagement.
- Cancellation of events where losses of deposits would occur.
- Proposed service and operational growth frozen in favour of maintaining BAU as much as possible.
There will still be someone on the end of the phone to answer your call when you’re experiencing conflict in your brigades. You'll still be able to get the medals you’ve earned after many years dedicated service, and you can continue to learn and grow through our workshops and presentations.
Maintaining BAU as much as possible will help us all recover and return to a world more familiar, yet we’ll be able to do it in more creative and flexible ways. We’re Kiwis and we’re known for our ingenuity. We’ll adapt and survive.
Bill Butzbach, UFBA CEO
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