The NZPFU is deeply concerned that FENZ has appointed candidates to the Group Manager position that are not the best-suited applicant.  We have foreshadowed for the past two years the risk to the health and safety of the community and firefighters when non-qualified personnel are appointed into positions where they may be rostered or deployed to the incident ground and take command and control roles.  The professional career ranks builds in assessed qualifications and experience that the NZPFU views as critical to the health and safety of those responding and to the community they respond to.

The NZPFU is calling on its SSO members who were unsuccessful in their applications for the Group Managers position to seek a review.  NZPFU members who applied for the Group Manager positions and have received letters informing them they were unsuccessful are strongly encouraged to review those appointments where the following applies:

  1. The letter notifying you were not successful in your application should include a reference to your right to review the appointment where the person appointed was not a FENZ designated “affected person”.  If it does and the successful appointee was not a professional career firefighter then we ask you to review the appointment.

  2. Any appointments can be challenged through the Review of Appointments Policy Process where the following criteria apply:
  • The successful person had not received a letter of redundancy (AMs, AAMs, PRFOs, DPRFOs, Senior FRMOs and FRMOs all received letters of redundancy);
  • The successful person was not employed by FENZ (was an external candidate, or was a volunteer) or was employed on a fixed term at the time they were offered the GM position;
  • The successful person is not a professional career firefighter in that they have not qualified through the career ranks of Recruit up to and including SSO. (Note: Members can seek a review of an appointment of a professional career firefighter but the NZPFU’s primary concern is to challenge appointments where the successful applicant has not risen through the career rank progression and therefore does not have the career qualifications and experience which the NZPFU view as critical to the health and safety of those responding and the community they respond to)                  

The NZPFU challenged FENZ’s Tranche 2 structure and took our fight to ensure only the best-suited person was appointed to these positions to the Employment Court.  We were unsuccessful in that challenge, but section 30 of the FENZ Act only applies to FENZ employees who were current employees and had received a notice of redundancy. 

Where section 30 does not apply, FENZ must give preference to the person best suited to the position, and the procedure for reviewing appointments applies.

The Appointment Policy (document 5.6.1) and Review of Appointments Policy (5.6.2) is included in Part 6 of the FENZ and NZPFU collective agreement.

  • Anyone can apply for an informal review, even if they did not apply for the position. 
  • Any unsuccessful applicant has 14 days from the written notification of the outcome of the appointment process to seek a formal review. To apply for a formal review write to your Region Manager and/or DCE People Brendan Nally with:
  1. A full statement setting out the basis of the complaint
  2. The reason why you consider your application deserves further consideration.  You would be challenging on substance (because you feel you are the best-suited person for the position including qualifications and experience and attributes relevant to the position) and/or the process (you did not think you were afforded a fair assessment during the process or are challenging the process in some way)
  3. The remedy sought – being appointed to the position
  4. Seeking any information about yourself that was included or relevant to the consideration of your application, the assessment and selection information of yourself, the assessment and selection information of the person offered the position including their relevant experience and qualifications, the outcome of the shortlisting and/or interview panel’s assessment against the key competencies or criteria recorded on the relevant matrix.

If you have been unsuccessful in your application and are unsure if you can contest the appointment, or want assistance in seeking a review, please contact the Secretary Wattie Watson on 021 928 819 or

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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