UFBA Board's Statement to RNZ

Issue date:

The UFBA Board has provided the following statement to RNZ regarding interviews broadcast on 9 February 2021 that discussed the UFBA. The Board would like to correct a number of facts as follows:


UFBA CEO appointment

The Board of the day’s decision to have an independent organisation undertake the search for qualified applicants for the UFBA CEO position was done to make sure the Association was running a professional process, including scanning the marketplace for qualified applicants.  The recruitment company chosen, was recommended by elected Board Member Judith Stanley.  A selection panel of the Board, including Ms Stanley, conducted the interviews.  Whilst Judith Stanley has widely stated publicly that she was not in favour of the preferred applicant, the selection panel recommended who they believed to be most suitable for the role. It was the decision of the entire Board to make the appointment, based on the qualifications, networks and experience of the CEO.

Independent inquiry

To the matter of the Inquiry, as has been reported several times, on receipt of complaints to the Board in relation to the CEO, the UFBA Board acted swiftly in undertaking an independent inquiry and appointed a QC to run the process, including providing the advice on the Terms of Reference (TOR).  The TOR was unable to be agreed to by all parties and therefore there was no other option than for the inquiry to be abandoned. The TOR is available for viewing on the UFBA website and has been published there for some time now. 

Professionalism of UFBA Board

A number of assertions have been made about the professionalism of current and previous Boards. The UFBA Board is made up of member-elected directors as well as two independently-appointed board members.  Judith Stanley’s inference that they are not properly qualified will be confronting to members, who cast their significant votes on the applicants based on their skills and experience.  These are people with substantial and credible backgrounds who have a tremendous amount to offer the UFBA membership during these uncertain times in the fire and emergency sector as sizeable changes are being introduced.  Similarly, the Board disputes her stated recollections of Board discussions and proceedings and does not condone bullying in any form throughout the organisation. 

Establishment of Tāngata Matatau

Your interviews of 9 February also incorrectly inferred improper action by the UFBA Board Chair and CEO, overseeing the establishment of Tāngata Matatau after the merger of the UFBA and FRFANZ Associations; an initiative and process fully supported by the Department of Internal Affairs and Fire and Emergency New Zealand. 

Tāngata Matatau is an independent incorporated society, established to provide a separate advocacy organisation for the non-Fire and Emergency brigades and parties that did not merge with the UFBA and FRFANZ Associations in 2019.  

The UFBA’s interim involvement is only to establish Tāngata Matatau as part of its merger responsibilities to FRFANZ. It is wholly-owned by the Tāngata Matatau Incorporated Society with the Chair and CEO as Directors, in their executive capacity, to establish the Association.

Tāngata Matatau members are independent specialist organisations that are relied on to partner with Fire and Emergency to serve and protect New Zealand from unwanted fire, and other emergencies.  They have a particular expertise in wildfire and specialist heavy industry such as petro-chemicals.

Meanwhile, the UFBA continues to work with, and is fully supportive of  Fire and Emergency NZ’s work to establish an independent Behaviour and Conduct Office.  An independent, confidential and robust dispute resolution system established by Fire and Emergency New Zealand is essential.”