With the holiday period coming to an end, I would like to acknowledge all of you who responded to incidents over Christmas and New Year. At a time of year where families and friends come first, you were responding to the needs of many others – in fact, on Christmas day alone, you responded to 243 incidents across the country. Thank you.

My thanks also to those who have been deployed to Australia over this period, as well as the many who support this both within this organisation and across our partner agencies. We have a long history of positive trans-Tasman relations and I am proud that we’ve been able to provide assistance to the people of Australia in this time of great need. I have been extremely saddened to hear of the fatalities caused by the fires and firefighting efforts. Yesterday we heard three more lives were lost as an airtanker crashed in New South Wales – my thoughts are with the families, crews and wider firefighting community who have lost loved ones.

Positive Workplace Culture report anniversary

A year ago we went public with the findings of the independent review into our workplace policies, practices and procedures to address bullying and harassment.

That report was very confronting. Of the almost 1500 people surveyed in the report research, almost half had witnessed or experienced bullying or harassment at Fire and Emergency, but less than half had reported it.

Yesterday I caught up with retired Judge Coral Shaw, who carried out the review, to share the progress we’ve made to address the report’s 33 recommendations as we work towards a Fire and Emergency New Zealand where everyone is safe, welcome and included.

We’re not there yet but we are making progress, which you can see, along with Judge Shaw’s report, on our Positive Workplace Culture webpage(external link).

Organisational changes

As I have already announced, on the 30th January 2020, I will be sharing my decisions, so far, on proposals for organisation-wide changes, dedicated administration support to Deputy Chief Executives (DCEs) and Region Managers, and positions at tier 3 in Organisational Strategy and Capability Development (OSCD), Finance and Business Operations (FABO) and Office of the Chief Executive (OCE) (Tranche 3).

This will include announcing decisions on the process for the Employee Transition Protocol (ETP), naming conventions, collective leadership accountabilities for tier 3 positions for OSCD, FABO, OCE.

A leaders’ briefing will take place at 9.30am on Thursday 30th January. An all staff email will follow including a portal link to the decision document, which will provide detailed feedback on these Tranche 3 announcements.

I’d like to thank you for your patience and ongoing support as we build our unified Fire and Emergency.

Welcoming our newest career recruits

Last Friday I had the opportunity to welcome our 23 newest recruits at our National Training Centre as they embark on their first formal training to become career firefighters.

I spoke to the group about the training ahead of them, which will undoubtedly be both challenging and rewarding. I encouraged them to be aware of their own mental health and to ask for help if, and when, they need it throughout their career.

I also spoke with them about the importance of bringing their ideas, beliefs, values, skills and life experiences to their role as a firefighter. When we have diversity within Fire and Emergency, we can better reflect our changing communities and do what we do best – keep our communities safe. I was delighted to see this diversity reflected in these men and women - it’s how we’ll build a sustainable, healthy and inclusive culture.


Image: Visit to NTC


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