New Board line-up to lead fire services sector

  • Peter Dunne
Internal Affairs

Internal Affairs Minister Hon Peter Dunne today announced a new line-up for the Board of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission to lead significant reform of the fire services sector.

Dr Nicola Crauford, Peter Drummond, Te Arohanui Cook and current member Angela Hauk-Willis will join the newly appointed chair, Hon Paul Swain, on the Board from 1 April 2016.

“This new Board will lead a new organisation that is flexible, modern and efficient and that values and supports its volunteer and paid workforce. New Zealand’s fire services are facing the biggest changes to their structure in 70 years,” said Mr Dunne, who announced last year that a new fire services organisation would be set up to amalgamate rural and urban fire services. 

“The new Board members bring experience in either rural or urban fire services, governance and change management, and have strong links with their communities. 

“The Board will be responsible for ensuring that the new national organisation listens and responds to the needs of its regional and local communities.

“I expect to have funding arrangements for the new organisation confirmed in the next couple of months, and legislation introduced into the House, with the new organisation being set up in mid-2017”, Mr Dunne said.

Dr Crauford, of Wellington, has been appointed as Deputy Chair for a three-year term. She will resign from her role as Chair of the Wellington Rural Fire Authority when she takes up her new role on 1 April 2016.  As well as having knowledge of the volunteer and rural fire sector and fire engineering experience, she also has strong governance skills.

Peter Drummond, of Auckland, has extensive experience in the fire services sector and was a member of the Fire Review Panel that in 2012 recommended the fire services be modernised.  The panel was a precursor to the review done last year.  Mr Drummond is a former chair of the United Fire Brigades’ Association.

Te Arohanui Cook, of Hawke’s Bay, has held roles as a Principal Rural Fire Officer, an Assessor with the Fire and Rescue Services Industry Training Organisation (ITO), and has served on the ITO Board.  Ms Cook also has senior firefighting experience.

Current Board member Angela Hauk-Willis, of Kapiti Coast, has been re-appointed for two years.  Ms Hauk-Willis has held senior governance and change management roles, including at the Independent Police Conduct Authority and the 2020 Communications Trust. She was a Deputy Secretary of the Treasury for 11 years.    

Mr Dunne paid tribute to the retiring Board Chair, Rt Hon Wyatt Creech, Deputy Chair David McFarlane, and members Rangi Wills and Vicki Caisley. 

“The Fire Service has been well served by these Board members who, under the leadership of Rt Hon Wyatt Creech, have done an excellent job in leading the fire services sector to this point, and in particular for their support of New Zealand’s many fire services volunteers.  

“The current Commission has done a vast amount of work over the past few years to get the sector ready for these substantial changes.  This was done against the backdrop of the aftermath of the biggest emergency New Zealand has seen in recent history – the Canterbury earthquakes.

“The retiring Board should be proud of the fact that New Zealand’s firefighters set the benchmark for public trust and confidence. “The Board’s positive response to an earlier review of the fire services has meant that the fire services sector is now ready for the changes ahead”, Mr Dunne said.

The New Zealand Fire Service Commission is a Crown entity that is responsible for the New Zealand Fire Service and also acts as the National Rural Fire Authority.