Compliance and enforcement responsibilities

Risk reduction activities have always been an important part of the work we do and since the introduction of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017, it has become more important than ever. A significant part of this work is our new compliance and enforcement responsibilities, including the steps we take to educate other organisations and the public to help them meet their compliance obligations.

Promoting and supporting voluntary compliance

Our priority will always be to remove compliance barriers and help people do the right thing.  We will do this by helping people understand what they need to do through the proactive work of our frontline personnel and by highlighting examples of non-compliance or poor practice so people can clearly see the risks and harm that can result from this.

Managing non-compliance

Managing more regular or serious non-compliance issues is not new to us and we already have a number of compliance tools available to help with this. These include:

  • Information and educational resources guides and face-to-face interactions between our frontline personnel, the public and other organisations to promote fire safety e.g. mandatory smoke alarms and evacuation procedures and schemes.
  • Cautionary/warning letters – to be sent to people whose fire-related behaviour or activities are identified as high risk, or where formal enforcement action isn’t considered necessary or appropriate.
  • Prosecution – we have a clear policy on prosecutions.  Prosecution action may be taken whether or not a breach has resulted in a fire or other avoidable emergency response being necessary.

New compliance tools

Following the introduction of new regulations in mid-December 2018, Fire and Emergency NZ is now developing a range of new tools to address low to moderate level offending where compliance has not been achieved through an educational approach. Over time these will include infringement notices to deter and penalise low to moderate level offending. Infringement notices will be issued for infringement offences which are not serious enough to warrant a full prosecution. They will impose an instant financial penalty but no conviction.

A full list of the infringement offences and their associated infringement fees is available at the following link:

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Offences) Regulations 2018(external link)

Next steps

Work is underway to create an additional comprehensive set of policies and guidelines to support our Compliance and Enforcement Strategy, and once determined, help guide personnel responsible for undertaking enforcement powers. This is expected to be completed by mid-2019 and will help us to work collaboratively with partners and the public to prevent and protect against unwanted fires or harm from emergencies, and to comply with relevant safety legislation.  It will also ensure our people are equipped with the right skills to take a consistent and effective approach to the compliance and enforcement elements of our risk reduction work.

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