Government announces $4 million scheme to pay volunteer firefighters

New Zealand's nearly 12,000 vounteer firefighters will begin receiving payments of $300 per year and $50 per night of training as part of a $4 million reward and recognition package that the Government announced this evening. 

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin revealed the new package tonight at an event at the Paekakariki Fire Station to kick-start National Volunteer Week.

"Our volunteers are a passionate and committed group of people," Ms Martin said. "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."

There are currently 11,800 Fire and Emergency volunteers in New Zealand who are first to the scene at over 31,000 incidents each year, including motor vehicle accidents, medical emergencies and structure and vegetation fires.

The package is comprised of six initiatives:

• 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 whānau of volunteers when they have to be away overnight for training.

• Access to a website 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.