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Resilient communities

Building resilient communities and reducing consequences from emergencies are key outcomes for our organisation. This work includes activities that will support engagement with our communities to enable us to identify and provide services that are appropriate to community risks and needs. 

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 establishes Local Advisory Committees to provide local input into our national planning, ensuring that it is responsive to the risks and needs of communities.

Local Advisory Committees

Following public consultation on proposed Local Advisory Committee (LAC) boundaries and a successful LAC in the Hawkes Bay earlier in 2018, Fire and Emergency New Zealand has now confirmed:

  • 16 Local Advisory Committees and their boundaries
  • the establishment of the first seven Local Advisory Committees by June 30 2020 in: Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Northland, West Coast, Chatham Islands, Tairawhiti and Otago.

Download Map of LACs [170KB PDF]


Local Advisory Committees will play a pivotal role in helping Fire and Emergency build community resilience by informing Fire and Emergency about communities’ priorities, risks and needs. LACs will ensure that the voices of local communities are heard, particularly in relation to their risks and needs, and provide a mechanism for ensuring a strong local voice in fire and emergency services.  Fire and Emergency will be able to leverage the national network of the LACs, into potentially new communities of interest, to better inform its planning process, and to help it plan for and mitigate current and future risks, collaboratively with the community.  These new connections will supplement the existing relationships that Fire and Emergency already maintains, locally and nationally.

From February to May 2018, Fire and Emergency undertook a trial Local Advisory Committee in Hawke’s Bay. The key learnings and considerations from the trial will be used to inform the final design including operational processes and procedures, the mandate upon which LACs will operate, the skills and knowledge LAC members should have, how the committees will work with the organisation, and how their local input will be incorporated into planning processes.

Local Advisory Committee trial in the Hawke’s Bay

The Hawke’s Bay Local Advisory Committee trial enabled Fire and Emergency to successfully test and validate the critical elements of the proposed design for LACs and ensure they are practical and achievable, and provide a framework within which LACs operate efficiently and effectively, in order to achieve the intent of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017.

Through the trial, Fire and Emergency was able to validate assumptions about LAC outcomes and test and refine the elements of the LAC design, after observing these operating in a simulated LAC environment.  Specifically, the trial allowed Fire and Emergency to:

  • provide confidence to stakeholders that the proposed design will ensure Fire and Emergency maintains a close connection with the community and has the capability to integrate advice provided by LACs in respect of local risks, issues and community interests into planning processes and plans.
  • validate the roles, responsibilities and expectations of those people integral to the LAC process including LAC members, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board, engagement personnel, and secretariat and administration functions.
  • develop a high-level roadmap for the establishment and deployment of LACs, once LAC boundaries are set. Deployment timing will be considered alongside other integration activities underway in Fire and Emergency.

Importantly, the trial confirmed that LACs will enable Fire and Emergency to better connect with and broaden its existing reach into communities, to facilitate risk and need conversations to inform local planning.

LACs will require careful set up and will take time to establish.  It will also take time to evolve and mature LACs. Having the right capability and support in place within Fire and Emergency, at both a national and local level, will be critical to their success.  Fire and Emergency will use the key learnings from the trial to inform the final design and implementation of LACs nationally.


Download: Summary of key learnings and considerations from Hawke’s Bay trial

More information


Find out more about Fire and Emergency NZ’s three year work programme for the second, ‘integration’, phase to integrate the functions and activities of urban and rural fire services, to deliver Cabinet’s expectations of Fire and Emergency NZ set out in the Act, and build resilient communities.