'We want to be there for them': New package recognises rural volunteer firefighters

Tracey Martin announced the package at the Paekakariki Fire Station to kick-start National Volunteer Week.
Tracey Martin announced the package at the Paekakariki Fire Station to kick-start National Volunteer Week. Photo credit: NZ Fire and Emergency

Fire and Emergency volunteers will get $4 million-a-year to recognise their contribution to communities across New Zealand in a package announced on Tuesday. 

Speaking at an event at the Paekakariki Fire Station to kick-start National Volunteer Week, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin expressed her gratitude to Fire and Emergency's 11,800 volunteers.

"Our communities are safer and stronger because of you, and I thank you for that," she said.

She said the reward and recognition package from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) recognised the efforts volunteer firefighters made to keep their communities safe.

"Our volunteers are a passionate and committed group of people. Just as they're there for us when we need them, we want to be there for them so that they can better serve their communities."

Volunteers make up 80 percent of Fire and Emergency New Zealand's personnel and are first to the scene at more than 31,000 incidents each year, including motor vehicle accidents, medical emergencies and structure and vegetation fires.

The package is comprised of six initiatives that recognise the contribution that volunteers make and acknowledge the role of their whānau and employers in supporting them.

They are:

-An annual payment of $300 to all volunteers to recognise that they sometimes incur expenses as part of their activities for Fire and Emergency.

-An allowance of $50 per night to support the family/whānau of volunteers when they have to be away overnight for training.

-Access to a web site offering discounts on a range of products and services.

-Discounts with Fire and Emergency suppliers on day-to-day items.

-Access to health insurance options.

-An employer promotion scheme to complement Fire and Emergency's current Employer Recognition Programme.

Martin said consultation on a further set of initiatives would begin shortly.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz