As discussed at the AGM, the Local is to trial making semi regular contact via e-mails to members highlighting items of current concern or attention as it pertains to the Tauranga Local and in particular its committee.

Over the previous 6 months a great deal of time and attention has been devoted to the Covid-19 situation. In its early stages this necessitated daily representation at meetings, helping to formulate policy and procedures, to allow staff to continue to protect their communities while keeping themselves and their families safe. Thankfully, this has now slowed to the occasional issue requiring advice or advocacy.

Fleet issues of one type or another is an area that seems to require our constant attention. The poor state of the operational fleet has consumed at lot of time and energy, advocating on the members behalf. This has recently culminated in your local committee determining that the Hose Layer based at Mt Maunganui was in such a poor state, that we could no longer justify risking our members health and safety to staff it. Our local volunteers have supported our position and refused to staff it in solidarity. This collaborative relationship has also extended to plans for the flexible manning of the Tanker based at Greerton. While this has taken longer than anticipated to bring to fruition, a training package is nearing completion and we hope to facilitate a faster and more reliable service to the community within a very short time frame. As most will be aware we have also been involved with plans to standardise training and qualifications for the riding of specialist appliances.

The Tranche 2b changes and appointments in the pipeline for our new "enlarged" district has spurned many conversations but we have avoided any serious planning or decisions until we see the lay of the land as things settle in over time. We have, and will continue, to offer advice and support to our NZPFU members applying for these new positions.

Recently we have been in discussions with local, regional and national management around the high seismic risk ratings for Tauranga Station.  We believe the risk to staff working and living 24hrs a day within these premises to have been long under appreciated.  We are currently waiting results from a series of information requests and new structural engineering reports. We will be canvassing opinions from affected members around options for a way forward when we have collected this new information, before finalising a course of action.

This has led to discussions regarding the current and future growth of our city. Region management have confirmed plans to rebuild Tauranga Station on its present site, and are currently progressing resource consent applications for a new Greerton Station on Cameron Road near Barkes Corner. A six station model for our city is still managements preferred direction with additional stations in Papamoa, Te Tumu and Pyes Pa/Ohauiti.

Recently we were surprised by a greatly expanded hose testing regime that saw our staff testing all of our volunteers hose region wide. Unfortunately a lack of early consultation has led to initial delays while we work through ensuring safe and sustainable systems of work.

Changes to the conditions of our OEE members have been discussed but unfortunately although management were on board, we couldn't agree on these with our other partners in the agreement from Kawerau so we have shelved these changes in the short term.

Our VSO members have again come under pressure to agree to rostering of holidays over the Xmas period. While we certainly agree with management about the need for regular and timely breaks for the maintenance of our wellbeing, we must also uphold our contractual obligations for consultation and agreement in these areas.

This is a small and somewhat concise selection of the work your Local Committee is conducting on your behalf. The next 6 months has the chance of being a tad tumultuous with both contractual negotiations and the bedding in of the new region wide  and national management changes. Regardless of the winds of change blowing around us, we will continue like always, to respond when called, to help our communities in their time of need. And there will always be a need.

Thank you for helping us to help you.

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