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New legislation for 21st century Fire Service

Hon Chris Tremain
Minister of Internal Affairs

5 September 2013

New legislation for 21st century Fire Service

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain has announced reforms that will align the Fire Service with the demands it faces in the 21st century.

“The Fire Service legislation dates back to the 1970s and has not been overhauled since then. In that time, the role of the Fire Service has radically changed,” says Mr Tremain.

“The Fire Service was established to fight fires, and is not mandated to perform non-fire functions. However, the changing role of the Fire Service means that more than a third of callouts are now for other emergencies such as motor vehicle accidents, hazardous substances, severe weather events, and urban search and rescue situations.

“The Government will update legislation to mandate firefighters to provide a full range of fire and non-fire services. This will also ensure that firefighters are protected from liability when attending non-fire callouts.

“The new legislation will also acknowledge the role of volunteers in the Fire Service and require the Fire Service Commission to actively provide for the sustainability of the volunteer base.

“Further changes will enable a more flexible governance model for the Commission. This will retain existing statutory positions such as National Commander, National Rural Fire Officer and Chief Fire Officer, but with flexibility for the Commission to delegate functions to these officers.

“I intend to introduce legislation to implement these changes before the end of the year.

“The Government is also working towards a fair and sustainable funding base for the Fire Service, based on the Fire Service Levy. This will be incorporated into further legislation in 2014.

“There have been a number of unsuccessful previous attempts to change fire service legislation and reform is long overdue. It is my hope that the work of the independent Fire Review Panel, and extensive consultation with stakeholders following its report, has enabled consensus on key issues.”

For more information go to: http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Our-Policy-Advice-Areas-Fire-Service-Review

ENDS

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