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Port Hills rural fire costs total $7.9 million

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Archived News Item. Note that information below may no longer be current or accurate.
Archived: 27 Nov 2017 11:15am

The Port Hills fires total rural firefighting costs have been calculated at $7.9 million.

The $7.9 million figure includes all rural firefighting costs incurred by Selwyn District Council and the Department of Conservation (DoC) as Rural Fire authorities. It does not include costs incurred by the New Zealand Fire Service (now Fire Emergency NZ) – these costs sit with the Fire Service and do not form part of the Council’s insurance claim.

The majority of the costs ($7.4 million) will be covered through insurance with the Rural Fire Fighting Fund.

The Council and DoC will each meet their own insurance excess of $195,000 along with other non-claimable costs totalling approximately $175,000 (such as the cost of preparing the claim).

The costs also do not include Civil Defence costs incurred by Selwyn District Council or Christchurch City Council.

Significant areas of expenditure included approximately $2.1 million for aircraft, $1.8 million for Rural Fire personnel, $900,000 for fire retardant, $800,000 for Rural Fire equipment and vehicles, and $600,000 for heavy machinery. Other costs covered in the total include contracted firefighting personnel and equipment and a number of other items.

Selwyn District Council costs not covered by insurance will be funded from the Council’s 2016/17 operating expenditure.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton says the costs reflect the significant scale of the firefighting operation. “The Council also acknowledges that during this extended firefighting operation a substantial number of Council staff were diverted from their normal duties to work on this huge firefighting operation. We’re now back to business as usual but I would like to thank our Selwyn residents for their understanding, and for the support they showed to those involved in the firefighting efforts.”

Summary of Port Hills Fire Costs

Rural Fire Authority personnel


Rural Fire Authority equipment & vehicles


Contracted firefighting personnel


Contracted firefighting equipment



(eg catering, cordons, fire break remediation, investigation)


Fire retardant


Heavy machinery






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