Last week I announced the Service Delivery Leadership Team(external link) (SDLT) appointments as the next step in creating our organisation for the future. 

I am very confident that we have a Service Delivery leadership team who bring the width of experience required across the many different facets we need to lead Service Delivery for the organisation. I believe the team will build a unified organisation that reflects the diversity of skills and thought needed for us to create what NZ needs for the future. This was a key component I was looking for in the team to ensure we are focussed on the strategic operational needs across the four Rs. 

There has been a very positive response to the announcement and I know that many people are looking forward to working with the team now they’ve been announced. 

I understand questions have been raised about the appointment of people without firefighting experience to leadership roles within Service Delivery, so I would like to address that now to ensure there is clarity around the basis of my decision making. 

First of all, it’s important that you know that on the incident ground where we deploy our operational tactics, command will be exercised by people with the right skills. Safety is paramount in that environment so we will not be placing someone at an incident determining our tactical approach without the right capabilities.   

One of the many positive things from the reform is acknowledgement that for some time our operational response work has been a lot wider than just firefighting and our call profiles indicate that this will continue to increase. 

When we look at the new SDLT, we see people who bring with them operational experiences from different environments outside of the organisation. These different experiences are a strength to the team and alongside those with response experience from within the sector will grow the thinking around our approach to major responses. 

Our wider mandate also includes a significant lift of our work in some areas, including risk reduction, working across Government Departments, strategy, policy and relationship development. These were all areas that we looked for people with significant skills and experience in. This team has the right mix of skills and experience for the roles. 

This experience includes time on the trucks, working with foresters and DOC, in management and leadership, in risk reduction, in governance – and in many other areas. Our job, and our organisation is changing – and I am very confident that the SDLT will deliver what we need as a group and as an organisation to do the long term planning and strategic thinking required. 

Finally, I ask of all our people that they ensure they are respectful towards each other. Building our organisation is hard work at times, and at times we will disagree with each other. But I expect each and every member of Service Delivery to treat each other with respect, listen to each other, and understand that we are building a new organisation. Respect and inclusion are fundamental to everything we do -we are one team, regardless of our backgrounds. 

Kerry Gregory

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