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Fire and Rescue legislation to be reviewed

25 March 2004 Media Statement

Fire and Rescue legislation to be reviewed

Current fire and rescue legislation is to be reviewed, Internal Affairs Minister, George Hawkins says.

The review will aim to develop comprehensive new fire and rescue legislation to replace the 1975 Fire Service Act and the 1977 Forest and Rural Fires Act, and also establish appropriate funding sources, Mr Hawkins said.

In November 2003 an interdepartmental officials group, working with Local Government New Zealand and the Fire Service Commission, recommended developing a single framework for fire management in New Zealand.

Mr Hawkins said this framework would acknowledge the evolving rescue role of the Fire Service, and resolve inconsistencies that have developed between urban and rural fire systems.

"The Fire Service has a growing role in assisting at road accidents and in the development of urban search and rescue capability, as well as new duties under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, " Mr Hawkins said.

“Many parties have a strong interest in the way our fire and rescue services are organised and all will need to be involved in the design of a new system.

"I envisage an intensive consultation with many groups over the next year or two."

Mr Hawkins said he would particularly like to hear the views of fire fighters, both voluntary and paid, to help ensure we get the best possible system for the future.

Information on the review is available on the Department of Internal Affairs Website (www.dia.govt.nz).

ENDS

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