Happy International Firefighters’ Day. Today people all the world over are taking time to celebrate and thank firefighters for their important role in protecting communities, day in and day out.

I want to thank all Fire and Emergency people for their dedication to keeping New Zealand’s communities and the environment safe, whether as career and volunteer firefighters, or in one of many support roles.

Today gives us the opportunity to highlight to the public the breadth of work our firefighters do in keeping their communities safe. Our people are there to help respond to a wide variety of emergencies whether it’s motor vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, dealing with hazardous substances, severe weather events and natural disasters. They help to reduce the risk of fires through community outreach, education and fire safety campaigns; and they help communities to recover and get back on their feet after major incidents.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank families and friends, for their support and care to allow our people to respond to emergencies all year around. We appreciate that being a firefighter means time spent away from loved ones.

Royal New Zealand Honours Investiture ceremony

It is particularly fitting that this morning I was privileged to attend a Royal New Zealand Honours Investiture ceremony at Government House. Five of our people were presented with Queen’s Service Medals (QSMs) by Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy in acknowledgement of their selfless and inspiring community contributions.

Syd Hughes (Ōpōtiki), Bruce Thompson (Ohakune), Jim Powdrill (Kaikohe) and Kevin Stechman (Westport), along with John Bowmar (Kaiwaka) who was presented with his QSM on 19 April, were all named on the 2021 New Year’s Honours List. Stuart Jones (Kirwee, Canterbury) was named on the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

The huge amount of work these recipients have undertaken over many years, for our organisation and many others, is helping to make their communities stronger, safer and more resilient. You can read more here(external link).  

Our six Queen's Service Medal recipients, along with our Minister Hon. Jan Tinetti, Board members Hon. Paul Swain and Malcolm Inglis, and National Commander Kerry Gregory.

Most trusted - Colmar Brunton’s annual Public Sector Reputation Index Survey

I’m also delighted to let you know that for the sixth year in a row, Fire and Emergency has been named the most trusted agency in Colmar Brunton’s annual Public Sector Reputation Index Survey. How fitting that this accolade has been announced on International Firefighters Day.

This honour is given to us by the public we serve in communities across New Zealand. Thank you all - whether you’re on the frontline protecting lives and property, talking to communities about fire safety, or in support, planning or administrative roles. See the full results.(external link) 

Once again, a very Happy International Firefighters’ Day. Thank you all for your continued commitment to your community and to Fire and Emergency.

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