The NZPFU is deeply concerned that the health and safety of firefighters and the protection of the community will be put at risk with FENZ’s restructure. Today we notified FENZ of a dispute requiring the resolution of rank and command issues before any move to consult on a restructure.

Our representatives on the Unified Service Delivery group and the Tranche 2 design group have been battling to preserve the necessary protections of rank and role. The NZPFU and FECA require the preservation of rank structures including the qualifications and years of service expressly provided for in roles that are currently stated by FENZ. Statements like “relevant experience” are a gateway to appointing managers who do not have the necessary qualifications and experience to safely manage firefighters and response resources generally and at the incident scene.

We are deeply concerned that lives will unnecessarily be put at risk. It is imperative that professional career firefighters are at the helm of the fire service to manage the resources and keep our members and the community safe. Only sound rank and command structures can do that and this is where the battle lies.

The NZPFU has provided a wealth of evidence and research demonstrating the necessity of the professional career rank and command structure for management – no evidence has been provided to support the breakdown of that structure. Under the Fire and Emergency Act FENZ has obligations for broad response, and to make evidence-based decisions. Professional career firefighters are qualified and experienced in all areas of response required by FENZ in accordance with the Act. We will be holding FENZ to its obligations to keep our members and the community safe.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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