Independent oversight of emergency services communications project

  • Hon Stuart Nash

The Minister of Police Stuart Nash has appointed the Chair and four independent members to the Next Generation Critical Communications Executive Governance Board.

Next Generation Critical Communications (NGCC) is the government organisation responsible for replacing Emergency Services critical communications. There will be a new Public Safety Network for Fire and Emergency New Zealand, New Zealand Police, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance. 

“Budget20 confirmed an investment of $47.8m across five years for the Public Safety Network,” said Mr Nash. “It will replace emergency services radio networks that are up to 30 years old and rely heavily on voice communications, with limited national coverage.

“The ageing equipment has needed replacement for some time and this investment in core public services is vital in the interests of community safety. Frontline responders need modern, reliable and secure communications.

“I am pleased to welcome Rob Fyfe as NGCC Board Chair.  Rob has extensive business experience and has strong relationships with business, telecommunications and technology leaders.  He has led or sponsored major and complex ICT investments and programmes in many of the roles he has held.”

“The role of the Board Chair is vital for maintaining an objective balance between the interests of the participating Emergency Services agencies’ and ensuring transparency for the four Ministers with oversight of this project, Mr Nash said.

The four appointed Independent Members are:

  • Anthony Royal (Technical Member).

Antony has a wide range of experience in both the telecommunications and ICT sectors.  He is currently a Board Member of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, and has served as Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Panel for the Maori Digital Technology Fund, and Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Ultra-Fast Broadband and the Rural Broadband Initiative.

  • Deborah Battell (Commercial Member).

Deborah has held a number of senior executive roles in government and industry regulatory bodies.  She has strong knowledge of the telecommunications industry, and involvement in the emergency services sector.  She is currently the Independent Consumer Representative on the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme, has been both the Director of Fair Trading and the Director of Competition at the Commerce Commission, and was formerly the Banking Ombudsman.

  • Karen Mitchell (Commercial Member)

Karen has held senior executive level positions within the public and private sectors.  She has considerable experience in complex, high profile infrastructure procurement and commercial negotiations involving multi-agency programmes.  She has undertaken a number of independent reviews of procurement outcomes and commercial performance.  She has been appointed to a number of governance and advisory groups for infrastructure projects.

  • TJ Kennedy (International Member)

TJ is a pre-eminent international public safety technologies expert.  He was President of FirstNet (the First Responder Network Authority) in the United States responsible for the implementation of a US$40 billion nationwide broadband network used by over 1.5 million first responders today.  He has been a leader for a number of large international technology and system integration companies and had experience in implementing or advising on public safety networks in numerous international jurisdictions.

The Independent Chair and Members are joined on the Board by senior executive representatives from the Emergency Services agencies:

  • Andrew Coster, Police Commissioner, New Zealand Police
  • Rhys Jones, Chief Executive, Fire and Emergency New Zealand
  • Carolyn Schwalger, Chief Executive, National Emergency Management Agency
  • Peter Bradley, Chief Executive, St John
  • Mike Grant, Chief Executive, Wellington Free Ambulance.

More information about the project can be found at: