Post from Alan Thompson on September 14, 2017 at 9:45am
I was intested to read this "Charter" as I have an ongoing interest in the merger of rural and urban fire services and a number of concerns that it raises (in my opinion).
In the 4th paragraph there is a statement that "This Charter provides clarity during this transition". At the risk of appearing to be a bit pedantic I would like to suggest that the Charter does no such thing. Indeed, it is entirely unclear as to what it is that has "clarity" as a result of this Charter. I suggest that the Charter would have been quite satisfactory without this rather odd and very vague claim.
I had expected to see some statements around the representation of FOA and FFA on the proposed "local Committees" that Fire and Emergency NZ are required to establish and to consult with. I do note there is an implied reference to this function further down the document in a statement around "representations and support" but feel that FOA/FFA have missed an opportunity to ensue that positions at the forums will be offered to our organisations. I do note that the "Committees" seem to have gone on the back burner and I for one am concerned that they are not in place during the transition period to ensure that made we have adequate input into the planning and integration phases.
There is some wide concern with respect to the uncertainties around rural fire costs and indeed the measures by which we will be able to hold FENZ accountable. DIA and (ex) Minister Dunne have to date been guilty of misrepresenting rural fire statistics to support their case for the merger. They continue to blame the rural sector for the lack of information available on rural fire costs in spite of these costs having been researched and documented by the National Rural Fire Authority. More incredibly, the only KPI for rural fire as set out in the Minister's Letter of Expectation to FENZ relates to "recording the number of rural fires".
I am aware that the Institute of Foresters rural fire committee are working on a meaningful set of KPIs that can be presented to FENZ and the Minster that will provide some more accountability than "counting the number of fires". This is hardly a performance indicator (it is an input at best).
I would like to see in the next Charter (in 3 years?) some emphasis on meaningful measures that can be used to monitor and measure performance and to get away from the current level of mutual back slapping