The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Fire Services Review

Unified fire services organisation to be set up

The Minister announced on 13 November 2015 that the government has agreed to bring urban and rural fire services together into one unified fire services organisation. The new organisation will have regional committees that will ensure the particular interests of the regions are taken into account. Funding decisions are still to be made.

The new organisation will be a merger of the 52 rural fire authorities, and the National Rural Fire Authority, and the New Zealand Fire Service (which are both part of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission). The Cabinet paper notes that the merger into the new organisation will ensure the strengths of both rural and urban fire services are retained and enhanced.

The Department of Internal Affairs will manage the transition design – working closely with stakeholders – until new members are appointed to the New Zealand Fire Service Commission.  

The Minister has announced that he would be making appointments to the Commission in April 2016 to reflect the skills and expertise needed for the period of significant change ahead.  

When the new members of the Commission are in place, it will be expected to consider setting up a sub-committee to oversee the transition. 

One of the aims of the transition design is to minimise disruption to service delivery. 

Read the Minister’s speech.

Here’s some background information on

Read the Cabinet decision (.pdf 2mb) and the full Cabinet paper (.pdf 2.6mb)

The decision to move to a unified fire services organisation with regional committees is the outcome of the Fire Services Review.

Read the submissions on the Fire Services Review

Read the Executive Summary:

Read the full Submissions Summary report:

Here is a list of all submitters:

Discussion Document and supporting information

Read the full document or a summary:

On 24 June, a supplementary paper to the Discussion Document was released. This paper responded to feedback from stakeholders about the importance of community engagement for our fire services.

Three background papers provide more information on the rural fire options, the insurance funding options and the response to date to the Swain Report recommendations.

Several reports prepared by MartinJenkins provide some background information about how Enlarged Rural Fire Districts are operating and their expenditure, and the efficiency and effectiveness, and the expenditure and service delivery of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission.

More information

Minister's media release (7 August 2015): Broad support for changes to our fire services (Beehive website)

Minister's media release (27 Mayt 2015): Submissions called for on Fire Services Review (Beehive website)

Background papers

Other reports

What led to this review?

The process started with the independent Fire Review Panel’s work in 2012, led by Paul Swain, which resulted in a report that outlined a number of recommendations to Cabinet. (See: Report of the Fire Review Panel, December 2012)

In September 2013, Cabinet agreed next steps based on the recommendations in that report and this review is the next stage of that process and builds on the work done in that report. (See: Cabinet Decisions on Fire Service Review, September 2013)

Who and what is involved?

The Department of Internal Affairs and the New Zealand Fire Service Commission are working together on the review on the Minister’s behalf.

The scope of the review includes mandate and governance, legislation modernisation, funding, rural and urban fire services structures, coordination with other emergency services, and volunteer and workforce engagement and support.

Further background