This week I took the new Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to Region 5. It is really important to me and my ELT colleagues that we make the time to visit and connect with you across New Zealand, which we intend to do as a team each quarter. My video update this month shares some of the highlights from our trip.


Here’s a summary of my video message:

Because we’re designing an organising that is tailored to the Regions, it is important that the Executive Leadership Team knows what’s happening across the country and has an opportunity to engage with people and find out what the real issues are. This was their first visit to the deep South.

Station visits

As well as visiting a number of stations between Invercargill and Dunedin, we also visited Tiwai Point, New Zealand’s only aluminium smelter, near Bluff. Amongst its workforce, they have 29 volunteers who form an industrial brigade that sits within that organisation’s capability, rather than Fire and Emergency’s.

At Tiwai Point we were hosted by Ross Ferguson, who’s about to retire after 37 years at the Tiwai Industrial Fire Brigade, including the last 14 years as Chief Fire Officer.

The message I gave to both the career and volunteer personnel we visited was two-fold.

We talked about the lessons coming out of the Tasman Fires, and particularly the need for us to do an operational review to determine what lessons we should build into our structure.

Secondly, we talked about the changes we’re making under the Integration Programme. Over the next year-and-a-half we’re going to be focusing on reshaping the National Headquarters, but also the creation of the new Region and District Headquarters in that more unified model.

While that’s going on there is a need for stability in the organisation—one foot on the ground while we make those changes—and that means the brigades need to remain focused on deploying to 111 calls so the public can continue to rely on us.

Focus on strategy

On the second day the Executive Leadership Team held a strategy day in the Region 5 office. We talked about what we’d seen and heard the day before, for example the infrastructure investments underway, our approach to supporting communities, and some of the ideas about what we could achieve if we were to unite our funding with that of other agencies.

We spoke about the next six months, particularly the selection of the new Regional and District managers and the Branch changes at NHQ.

We also talked about implementing the Coral Shaw Review. We’re developing an implementation plan that will come out very soon. We talked about how that will tie in with some of the other key pieces of work we’re doing as Fire and Emergency develops, specifically the work we’re doing to create a better environment and our Health, Safety and Wellbeing strategy.

Future visits

So these days are really valuable for us an Executive Leadership Team as we get to make contact with stations, volunteers and career people right around the country. Over the next couple of years, we’ll eventually make it to your station.

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