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New UFBA Chief Executive Officer

FireNZ Magazine, September 2017

Bill ButzbachBill ButzbachChief Fire Officer of Martinborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, Bill Butzbach, is now several weeks into his new role as CEO of United Fire Brigades’ Association (UFBA)—the advocacy organisation that represents 12,000 firefighters, 80% of which are volunteers.

With a 41-year career spanning senior strategic roles in the sector, along with firefighting experience in urban, rural, volunteer and paid areas, Mr Butzbach has a broad perspective on the issues facing New Zealand’s fire and emergency services and firefighters.

According to UFBA Chair Rick, he is the ideal person to take up the CEO role amid the launch of Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

“As well as providing a broader mandate for emergency services work, a key purpose of the new legislation is to provide additional support for our volunteers to ensure people feel safe and secure in their local communities,” Mr Braddock said.

“With a person of Bill’s calibre as Chief Executive Officer and with our close working relationship with the Forest and Rural Fire Association (FRFANZ), the UFBA continues to be in a strong position to provide one united voice for all our members to influence decisions that affect our fire and emergency services.”

Mr Butzbach joined the UFBA Board as an appointed director in 2013 and was reappointed in 2015. After the Government released a Fire Services Review Discussion Document in May 2015, which set out options to review and reform the structure and funding of rural and urban fire services, he helped advocate for UFBA members and to produce the UFBA Fire Services Review Submission and the joint UFBA/FRFANZ submission on the Bill.

 

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Most recently he worked with the FENZ Project Team on the co-design of a range of better support for all volunteers to recognise, respect and promote their contributions, including volunteer engagement with the organisation, dispute resolution and advocacy and support services.

“Bill has long-standing relationships with our members around the country—urban, rural, volunteer, paid, industry and defence—and has a deep understanding of their needs and the challenges they face,” said Mr Braddock.

“Bill is committed to ensuring the UFBA achieves its strategic goals, meets its vision of safe sustainable communities and that it continues as a robust, professional and innovative advocacy organisation.”

Continuing in his volunteer role at Martinborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, Mr Butzbach takes over as UFBA CEO from George Verry who announced his decision to step down after nine years as CEO once Fire and Emergency New Zealand was launched.

Mr Braddock commented that Mr Verry's contribution to the UFBA and his guidance of the organisation and its membership through the new legislation process has been invaluable.

In his first CEO Blog posting of 11 August, Mr Butzbach noted the recent FRFANZ 30th AGM and Annual Conference.

“An historic motion was put to the meeting that the members give the FRFANZ Executive the power to proceed with a merger of the operations and services of FRFANZ with the UFBA, and should this proposal be accepted by the FRRANZ membership, the UFBA would consult with their membership, and if all agree, a merger will take place in early 2018.”

“The motion was passed with unanimous support,” he noted.

“A merger will provide significant benefits to the strength of our respective Associations. We look forward to talking to you about the merger in the lead-up to our AGM and Conference in October.”

 

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