Legal support for NZPFU Members notified they will be witnesses for Loafers Lodge fire trial


FENZ has sent out emails to various NZPFU Members stating that Police have confirmed they will be summonsed as a witness for the arson and murder trial following the Loafers Lodge fire.

Shortly after the fire the NZPFU offered any member who had been involved in the response to Loafers Lodge in any way support including having affidavits prepared.  We did that as it was important to ensure their full involvement was recorded and in context of their duties so that any inquiry would be able to have a full picture of the response to the fire and actions post fire. We also thought it would help to minimise the times our members would have to recall in detail those events as there were to be various external and internal investigations and inquiries.  Most of the NZPFU members who were part of the primary response including relevant Comms Centre Staff took up that opportunity and have finalised affidavits which both FENZ and Police have had access to.  Some members elected not to have an affidavit drafted or did not respond to the union’s offer. 

For those that have received an email from FENZ stating they will receive a summons, or that a process has been arranged for them to pick up their summons directly from the Police Station, we again offer legal support with that process and ongoing support throughout the trial.  FENZ has also now offered support through their internal legal team with the summons process.

We have instructed lawyers to support our members through these processes. All members being required to appear in the trial, regardless of whether they took up the offer for an affidavit,  are welcome to access the NZPFU support now for the summons process and ongoing legal support.  Members also have the option of accessing FENZ’s internal legal team instead, and can also chose not to have any legal support.

Due to the expected workload we have engaged a law firm to act for this process and any ongoing legal support members may need during the trial. These are not the same lawyers that assisted with the drafting of the affidavits.

The offer of legal support is not to be taken as any indication that our members have any reason to be concerned about the trial.  It is a service being offered by the union as most of our members would not have any experience in being a witness in any criminal trial, and we want to ensure all support is available to minimise the impact re-telling the events of that fire may have on mental health and wellbeing. 

If you want the NZPFU to provide legal support please do the following so that we can forward your information onto the relevant lawyer to support your through the summons process and any other legal support you may need during the trial:

Forward the email you have received from FENZ stating you will be summonsed as a witness to

  • Include all contact information (mobile phone numbers and preferred email addresses)  
  • Please confirm whether you had an affidavit affirmed/sworn and attach that affidavit.
  • If you are still in the process of finalising an affidavit please confirm which lawyer you have been working with on the affidavit.
  • Please state if you did not have an affidavit drafted at all.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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