Fire Emergency New Zealand starts tomorrow

FENZ will be the biggest change in the New Zealand Fire Service's history.

FENZ will be the biggest change in the New Zealand Fire Service's history.

Tomorrow is an historic day for the NZ Fire Service. The biggest changes the organisation has experienced in 41 years come into effect as all rural, volunteer and urban brigades come together under one single organistaion, Fire Emergency New Zealand (FENZ). But the service the community gets today will be exactly the same as tomorrow. The changes are all behind the scenes. Extra funding from the Government of $303 million for the transition over the next few years will include more training, upskilling, better gear, new logos and a more logical situation where all firefighters belong to the same organisation. Also under FENZ, through operational agreements, will be Department of Conservation, Civil Aviation, NZ Defence Force (NZDF), forestry owners and land owners. It is the biggest change fire commander Charlie Turei has seen in his career. Cutting the cake at the Gisborne Airport this week was a symbolic gesture to herald the new era. From left are Tairawhiti area commander Charlie Turei, Gisborne Airport manager Murray Bell, Deputy Mayor Rehette Stoltz, JNL forest manager Dylan Foster, MP Anne Tolley and DoC community ranger Malcolm Smith. Picture by Liam Clayton
FENZ A BLESSING FOR FORESTRY AND LAND OWNERS: FENZ will include organisations like JNL. Pictured in front of rural fire trucks with the new logo is JNL forest manager Dylan Foster. Through an operational service agreement, FENZ will train all JNL firefighters, which will save the company tens of thousands of dollars. Mr Foster says FENZ is a boon for forestry owners and landowners. “It’s a positive step. FENZ will smooth the way forward”. Picture by Liam Clayton

TOMORROW marks the biggest change to the New Zealand Fire Service in more than 40 years.

It is the beginning of Fire Emergency New Zealand, or FENZ, which is a new entity that will bring together the rural, urban and volunteer brigades all under the same umbrella.

It is seen as a positive step because it will mean a more united front. For the public the changes will not be immediately obvious, except for things like a new logo.

What is important is that when you dial 111 tomorrow, you will still get the same immediate response.

Tairawhiti area commander Charlie Turei said it has got to be the most impressive change he has seen in his career with the fire service since he started in 1975.

“July 1 is day one but it is going to be a massive job going forward. We’re all in this together now.”

Commander Turei said events leading up to the changes tomorrow were about community awareness of the changes taking place, and to celebrate the new direction of Fire Emergency New Zealand.

To help fuse all the brigades the Government announced $303 million in transitional funding as part of Budget 2017.
The shift towards a single fire organisation also means local government will no longer have to fund the costs of rural fire services and should save about $30 million nationwide, said MP Anne Tolley.

“I would expect these savings to be passed on to ratepayers,” Mrs Tolley said.

• Read more in-depth coverage about these changes, along with interviews with those affected, in tomorrow’s edition of The Weekender, or Sunday online.

TOMORROW marks the biggest change to the New Zealand Fire Service in more than 40 years.

It is the beginning of Fire Emergency New Zealand, or FENZ, which is a new entity that will bring together the rural, urban and volunteer brigades all under the same umbrella.

It is seen as a positive step because it will mean a more united front. For the public the changes will not be immediately obvious, except for things like a new logo.

What is important is that when you dial 111 tomorrow, you will still get the same immediate response.

Tairawhiti area commander Charlie Turei said it has got to be the most impressive change he has seen in his career with the fire service since he started in 1975.

“July 1 is day one but it is going to be a massive job going forward. We’re all in this together now.”

Commander Turei said events leading up to the changes tomorrow were about community awareness of the changes taking place, and to celebrate the new direction of Fire Emergency New Zealand.

To help fuse all the brigades the Government announced $303 million in transitional funding as part of Budget 2017.
The shift towards a single fire organisation also means local government will no longer have to fund the costs of rural fire services and should save about $30 million nationwide, said MP Anne Tolley.

“I would expect these savings to be passed on to ratepayers,” Mrs Tolley said.

• Read more in-depth coverage about these changes, along with interviews with those affected, in tomorrow’s edition of The Weekender, or Sunday online.

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