Fire and Emergency New Zealand
The NZ Farm Forestry Association (NZFFA ) welcomes the Minister of Internal Affairs’ (Peter Dunne) announcement that Budget 2016 will include $303m to modernise and combine New Zealand’s urban and rural fire services into a new organisation - Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
Farm Forestry Association
2nd May 2016
In particular, the NZFFA welcomes the removal of the artificial distinction in the current law between forestry and other rural and urban activities when it comes to the provision and funding of firefighting.
“We look forward to all Kiwis being treated the same” says NZFFA President Dean Satchell “rather than the present situation where forest owners (but not other rural or urban dwellers) can be levied for fighting fires that they did not cause.
Widening the levy base and deterrents to levy avoidance will ensure that both large and small property owners and motorists will pay their fair share towards the cost of fire and emergency services”
The NZFFA also is pleased to see that the Government has committed up to $40 million of Crown funding over four years from 2017/18 to Fire and Emergency New Zealand to help fund the cost of non-fire activities such as responding to medical emergencies, floods or other natural emergencies.
“Given that all Kiwis benefit from these activities, it is only appropriate that they be funded from the public purse rather than from insurance levies” said Don Wallace, NZFFA's spokesperson on fire.
The changes will also include measures to better support rural and urban volunteers who make up 80% of the workforce. “We must remember that we are dependent on the goodwill of volunteers for much of our fire-fighting and we need to make sure they are well looked after” said Mr Wallace.
For more information, contact Dean Satchell 021 2357554 or Don Wallace 027 4445123