Emergency call services

We advise government on aspects of the emergency call services in New Zealand, working with the New Zealand Police and other agencies.

Emergency calls in New Zealand

Emergency calls in New Zealand are made by calling 111. A main component of the emergency calling system is the Initial Call Answering Platform (ICAP) for the first answering of 111 calls.

Spark operates the ICAP so emergency calls are first answered at a Spark call centre. Genuine emergency calls are then forwarded to the appropriate Emergency Service Provider (Police, Fire, Ambulance).

Although telecommunications service providers are not obliged to provide emergency call services, they are encouraged to inform their customers about emergency call access and how to make emergency calls.

The Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum sets minimum standards for emergency call services through its industry code of practice, the Emergency Calling Code.

Policy objectives for the 111 calling system

When providing advice to government on emergency call services we are guided by these policy objectives:

  • 111 calling is free of charge for genuine calls.
  • 111 calling is accessible to all New Zealanders who are connected to a public telecommunications network.
  • 111 calling is of sufficient quality and clarity, across all supported channels of communication.
  • The availability of 111 calling on different devices and channels is transparent to users, and responds to evolving public expectations.
  • 111 calling has a very high level of reliability.
  • Emergency service providers can obtain sufficiently accurate and reliable caller location information to respond promptly to emergencies.
  • The security of any information relating to 111 calls is preserved.

Other considerations

In developing policy we also consider:

  • Successful 111 calling is dependent on the reach, quality and reliability of national telecommunications networks, and on the performance of emergency service providers’ answering and dispatch systems.
  • Costs on industry should not create undue barriers to entry, participation or innovation in the telecommunications industry, or to the uptake of new technologies.
  • Costs and impacts on telecommunications users, providers and government, including impacts on personal privacy, should be proportionate to the risks to public safety.

More information

Emergency Caller Location Information

Emergency Voice Calling Services Code(external link) — New Zealand Telecommunications Forum Inc

Emergency Service Providers(external link) — 111 Website

Last updated: 28 May 2021