FSC Plan Accepted — Deliver Or Else

  • Jack Elder
Civil Defence

Based on legal and official advice the Government has decided to accept the Fire Service Commission's plan for change in the Fire Service. However, the Government has made it clear to the Commission that it will be held accountable for delivering the undertakings contained in the document, the Minister responsible for the Fire Service, Jack Elder announced tonight.

This follows ministerial consideration of the plan in a conference call involving the Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, the Deputy Prime Minister, Wyatt Creech, the Treasurer, Bill Birch and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Jack Elder.

"From the beginning of this episode, my consistent position has been that fire service levy payers are entitled to a high performing service that is focused on reducing loss of property and life due to fire," Mr Elder said. "That requires the Commission and the Fire Service executive to act in a professional manner to achieve a coherent position to take back to the union. With the Commission and management now committed to the Change Plan this has been achieved.

"In order to ensure that this is the case I have issued a further letter to the Commission outlining the conditions under which the Government has accepted this plan."

The plan was presented to the Government last evening (April 6) with signed commitment from both the Commission and the Fire Service management.

Mr Elder said the Government had already made it clear to the Commission that a breakdown in relationship between the Chairman and the Chief Executive would be a cause for concern in any organisation.

"But in a national emergency response organisation, charged with the protection of life and property, it is simply unacceptable," Mr Elder said. "The public and the Government must have confidence in both the operational and organisational effectiveness of the Fire Service."

Mr Elder said the Government had been assured by the Commission and senior management that they were committed to and would deliver on the plan.

"The Government accepts that at this stage," he said, "but has also made very clear the consequences of failing to do so."

To make this point clear the Prime Minister and Mr Elder have asked the Commission, the Chief Executive of the Fire Service and the National Commander of the Fire Service to meet them tomorrow (April 8) in order that the expectations the Government has regarding on-going performance and monitoring requirements it has set down are fully understood.