Fire and Emergency New Zealand signed a charter with the NZ Forest Owners Association (NZFOA) and NZ Farm Forestry Association (NZFFA) on Tuesday 15 August, ensuring clarity throughout the integration period as Fire and Emergency moves to become a fully unified, national organisation.

Both the NZFOA and NZFFA are voluntary membership organisations providing leadership, support and services to the plantation forestry sector, which covers over 1.7 million hectares of land across the country.

Key elements of the charter include:

  • The sector and Fire and Emergency New Zealand are committed to working together to maintain, and enhance the existing arrangements used to deliver effective rural fire control. 

  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the sector support fire research including that of the SCION Fire Research Program and the utilisation or adoption of this research.The Forestry sector is committed to investing at appropriate levels, in people, equipment and specialist knowledge, to support Fire and Emergency New Zealand in its objectives and fire control functions.

  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the sector support the NZFOA Fire Management Guidelines which provide operational guidance and information to promote and ensure efficient and effective fire management, including protection, on plantation forests.

  • The sector will be engaged and consulted on the development of national standards and forestry related fire management policies.

NZFOA Chief Executive David Rhodes said the charter was a “great step” for the sector.

“This is a high-level document that guides what we all want and it reflects the fact we can go forward together. I think it starts us off on the right foot and we welcome Fire and Emergency here today."

Chief Executive Rhys Jones said New Zealand’s fire and emergency services had always enjoyed good relationships with the sector.

“We’re certainly looking forward to continuing this relationship with our new organisation, and new opportunities to work with the sector going forward.”

National Manager Rural Kevin O’Connor said the intent of the charter was similar to the individual agreements being signed with forestry companies.

“This is about securing the partnership but I think it is really just the beginning for us. We need the sector’s engagement on a whole range of opportunities in areas like research and campaigns, and we’re hoping this engagement will actually expand in future.”

Neil Cullen, NZFFA President said his members did not have the same firefighting capacity that large companies had, “so we’re pleased to be involved with the signing of this commitment and agreement, and we are pleased to have an ongoing relationship with Fire and Emergency.”

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