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Fire and rescue review long overdue

MEDIA RELEASE

Fire and rescue review long overdue

For immediate release 30 May 2006


Local Government New Zealand is keen to play a key role in the consultation exercise on the review of fire and rescue services announced by Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Rick Barker today.

“The review of our fire and rescue services is long overdue. The roles of these vital services have changed and grown since the legislation which governs them was enacted over 30 years ago and we now have a number of issues which need to be addressed in the review,” said Local Government New Zealand President Basil Morrison.

“The Fire Service Act and the Rural Fires Act are dated. These two Acts also operate independently of each other. We are looking to bring this legislation under one umbrella and provide for better integration between the rural and urban fire and rescue services.”

The Local Government Act also influences that part of the current service that is delivered by rural communities, via councils as rural fire authorities.

Local Government New Zealand has outlined, in its submission on the discussion document on the review of fire and rescue services last year, the features we envisage of an enhanced service.

“We want all involved in this review to take care not to break the things that work well now, in an attempt to address other aspects that may well be inadequately provided for. We will be looking for long lasting solutions that have the support of the communities served by the fire and rescue service, no matter who is in charge of managing service delivery.

“We will be pushing for the widest possible consultation with the local government sector and other affected parties. It’s important that all players in the delivery of fire and rescue services have a say on any changes to legislation that affects them,” said Mr Morrison.

“We are entering this exercise with an expectation of open-minded, good faith consultation. Whatever the end solution, it will require sensitivity to the wide range of circumstances our rural and urban communities face and must be responsive to all needs.

“We are keen to speak with the Minister about his proposals for the reform, and look forward to discussing these matters with him and other key stakeholders in the delivery of fire and rescue services around New Zealand,” said Mr Morrison.

Local Government New Zealand is entering into this work with the assumption that any solutions that emerge should be based on strong analytical reasoning and a clear rationale.

ENDS

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