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New Zealand fire fighters head to Australia Today

Hon Peter Dunne

Minister of Internal Affairs

30 January 2014                                                        

Media Statement  

New Zealand fire fighters head to Australia

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the deployment today of fire fighters to Australia underscores the close relationship and cooperation our two countries have when dealing with times of national adversity.

The team of 22 fire fighters being sent to Victoria today will be followed by a further contingent on Monday. The New Zealanders will provide much-needed respite to Australian fire forces who have been battling fires for weeks.

“We have a reciprocal arrangement with Australia to provide assistance in times of need. In the 2013 fire season we also sent four teams to Australia Tasmania and Victoria). While the main purpose is to assist our neighbours, the teams also gain valuable skills fighting larger fires than what we typically experience” says Mr Dunne.

“The Victorian Fire Services Commissioner has specifically requested fit people who can work in arduous conditions. It is a reflection of the quality of New Zealand rural fire personnel that we are able to meet that request. I thank those who have volunteered for these deployments and wish them every success as they work alongside their Australian colleagues in difficult and often dangerous conditions.”

ENDS

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