Tomorrow marks a milestone for our unified organisation with the announcement of the Service Delivery Leadership Team.

Just under two years ago, we brought together 40 fire and emergency organisations from across the country to form one, modern organisation, Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Many people have made significant contributions to the creation of Fire and Emergency. I’d particularly like to acknowledge and thank members of the Operational Leadership Team. Not only have they taken care of the hundreds of things required to meet the public’s needs, they’ve also helped us to design the future shape of our organisation.

In this context I’d like to single out two individuals for special mention - Paul McGill and Kevin O’Connor. Paul and Kevin have provided tremendous leadership during a time of change. I’d like to thank them both for the support they’ve provided to me personally as chief executive. Both have generously and professionally shared their knowledge and expertise.

Building our future organisation

The new Service Delivery Leadership Team will have primary responsibility for delivering on our new mandate of the “4Rs”—reduction, readiness, response and recovery—in communities around New Zealand.

This team will also help us continue to react and respond to the needs of our communities in the face of climate change, urban growth, an aging population, a changing interface between urban and rural communities and other changing factors.

And for the first time we will have a Service Delivery Leadership Team with one, unified structure.

Leading Fire and Emergency into the future

From the 1850s, when the first fire services were established, our organisations have evolved in response to the changing environments we operate in. That process is not going to stop.

Leading a modern Fire and Emergency requires different capabilities from the past.

As well as having the ability to lead an increasingly diverse organisation and manage the differing needs of volunteer and employed personnel, our service delivery leaders will be required to engage differently with the communities around us.

As we are increasingly required to respond to emergencies other than fire, response leadership experience in these other emergency situations becomes more important to us.

Tomorrow’s announcement of the new Service Delivery Leadership Team will be made by Kerry Gregory as Deputy Chief Executive, Service Delivery. I look forward to working with Kerry and the new team to create a modern organisation that can respond and react to New Zealand’s changing needs.

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