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Federated Farmers welcomes New Zealand Fire Services merger

Federated Farmers welcomes New Zealand Fire Services merger

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s announcement today that funding of $303 million will be used over four years to combine rural and urban fire services.

Federated Farmers rural fire spokesperson Anders Crofoot says the creation of the new organisation - Fire and Emergency New Zealand - will mean a more efficient delivery and a better service provided by one organisation. It also recognises the services other than fire which rural fire has often provided for many years, even though it was unfunded and outside their mandate.

"The government is showing a strong commitment to transition and we welcome the additional money to build capabilities in rural fire and supporting our rural volunteers," he said.

Mr Crofoot said that focus will now be placed on ensuring rural voices are heard.

"With the new organisation, there is a fear from rural stakeholders and landowners that their views will be drowned out by the urban majority," he said.
"We’re looking forward to further engagement with the fire services commission on the structure for the proposed local committees to ensure they can provide a strong rural voice in the new organisation."

Mr Crofoot said that Federated Farmers would also be asking councils around the country for a rates reductions, now that fire services were no longer supported by them.

"With territorial authorities no longer responsible for providing or funding rural fire service, we will expect to see a commensurate drop in rates and not an increase in other areas by stealth. "

"The confirmation of the expanded role of a combined Fire and Emergency NZ will ultimately benefit rural communities by ensuring that those non-fire emergency responses provided by both of the fire services currently but variably, are adequately resourced and mandated," Mr Crofoot says.

ENDS

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