New chair for New Zealand Fire Service Board

  • Peter Dunne
Internal Affairs

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced the appointment of the Hon Paul Swain as chair of the Board of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission for a three-year term from 1 April 2016.

Mr Dunne announced last November that New Zealand’s rural and urban fire services would be merged into a unified organisation.

“The sector is facing significant change as we build a fit-for-purpose, 21st century fire service capable of serving both rural and urban communities,” said Mr Dunne.

“Mr Swain brings an extensive knowledge of the fire services sector to the role, along with change management expertise.

“I’m confident his mix of skills and experience is going to be an asset to the new Board,” said the Minister.

Mr Swain, a former Member of Parliament and Minister, led an independent Fire Review in 2012 that recommended changes.  In response, the Government sought a wider review that looked also at mandate and governance, legislation modernisation, funding, rural and urban fire services structures, coordination with other emergency services, and volunteer and workforce support.

That review led to the decision last year to merge New Zealand’s fire services.

Mr Dunne paid tribute to the Rt Hon Wyatt Creech who has served on the Commission for seven years. Mr Creech was appointed as Deputy Chair in 2009 and has been Chair since 2012.

“The leadership of Mr Creech and his fellow Commissioners has been critical in ensuring that New Zealand’s fire services are ready for the changes ahead,” he said.

The Commission has implemented a new strategic direction (Vision 2020), has forged strong relationships with its stakeholders, and has embarked on a significant rebuild of its Canterbury stations following the earthquakes.

Mr Dunne said the groundwork laid by Mr Creech in response to the 2012 review had been crucial to the success of the current Fire Services Review.

There will be further appointments to the new Board made in the next few weeks. 

Mr Dunne said he expected to make announcements in the next couple of months about funding for the new unified fire services organisation.

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