This newsletter serves to inform members of some of the work your Local officials have been involved with since our last newsletter in October 2020.

Hose Layer

Our last newsletter outlined the actions that led to your Local Officials decision, on your behalf, to determine that the safety defects were not conducive to the safe operation of Mount Maunganui’s Hoselayer. Since then, the first option was to fit out Tauranga’s ISV as an interim hoselayer. This setup was found to be illegal as it could not travel whilst having the taillift in the down position. A rental vehicle has now been sourced to fill the gap whilst we continue to push for a purpose built solution through our region management.


After much consultation we are now crewing Greerton’s Tanker when the OIC at Greerton determines that the Volunteers cannot provide this service to the community in a timely manner.

Hose testing

This has been a subject of ongoing concern. Whilst it seems like a simple matter to test a few more hoses, it constitutes a major change to how our annual workload is allocated and agreed upon. When the change from routine hours to station business plans were consulted upon between the then NZFS and the NZPFU, we agreed to certain workload targets to be completed within a business year. Annual hose testing was one of these targets.  Whilst we as a local agreed to trial taking on the testing of hose from volunteer stations, we have major concerns as to how this extra work was introduced.  Initially it was sold to us as a short term solution to a temporary problem as we were to be receiving a new hose testing machine into the district midyear. This machine has now been allocated to the lower north island, with no ETA for this resource for our district. This changes the parameters of what we agreed to. Other locals throughout the district that don’t have the ability to share this workload between stations as we do, have very real concerns with this extra workload and how it was introduced. Northern branch and possibly National NZPFU officials may take a closer look at this as it could possibly have wider implications as to how workloads are managed into the future. This has been a frustrating subject for both your Local Officials and District management as factors outside of our control seem to influencing things on a near weekly basis. Watch this space….. Considerable work has been done ensuring our safe systems of work are maintained in regard to the hose testing procedures including work on new procedures to test LDH (Storz).

Leave Balances

Our staff will be aware of managements drive to reduce outstanding leave balances. We support the regular and adequate taking of leave as it allows our staff to be well rested and have good work-life balance. While our coloured watch staff are covered on overtime or relievers when they take leave, most of our Black Watch staff are not. This leads to concerns as to the amount of leave some of our members have accumulated. Not only as they haven’t seemed to have adequate rest and recuperation time but also that they will need to away from their duties for extended periods of time, with no adequate cover to take up the extra workload. Staff can opt to get some overdue leave paid out. Management has allowed a balance limited to 35 days to be carried over to the next calander year as a solution. Any leave plans should be done with consultation between managers and members and does not include Long Service Leave.

Local Planning

We continue to press both local and regional management to fulfill their obligation for future planning. We feel that the area is lacking in resources for our current risks let alone the exponential growth we are experiencing on an ongoing basis. Work is overdue in this area and we feel more inertia and visible progress is required. A region group looking into this subject has been initiated and our new V.P Karne Gough, has been press ganged into representing us on the Unified Fleet Strategy. Welcome to the V.P role Karne. A reminder that Karne is looking over the subject of appliances and their suitability/faults on our behalf, any fault reports should still be cc’d to his email to ensure he has full oversight to how we are tracking. On that subject a reminder that the contact emails for the Local execs are as follows; and should be self-explanatory and reasonably easy to remember.

Tauranga Station

We continue to progress the rebuild of Tauranga Station. After canvassing the majority of the membership we have advised management that the membership are concerned with the ongoing safety risks the station poses as well as the overall degradation of the building. We are pushing for alternative temporary facilities and advising our officers to consider conducting trainings and meetings off site where possible.  We received an updated DSA (detailed seismic assessment) report recently which we made available to staff at Tga, Grtn and Mount. Management have been asked to provide more details around what parts of the station are the safest to occupy in a seismic event but the DSA provides some basic guidance around this in the interim.

The rebuild panel has met recently to discuss the general requirements of the station. Members will have a chance in the near future to review concept plans but if you want to provide suggestions please contact one of the group reps.

The stance is still that In the interest of our members safety a fit for purpose temporary station needs to be progressed with urgency and management need to provide information for staff to make informed decisions regarding their safety.

Upcoming elections

Later this year we will cycle around to the NZPFU elections for Local Officials, seems like just yesterday. We will unfortunately be losing at least one member who will not be standing again. With the imminent retirement of Neil Patrick, we will be looking for somebody to replace him. Ideally we would like somebody to represent our officer members, feel free to twist the arms of those officers you think may be a good fit to accept a nomination.

I personally would like to thank Neil and acknowledge the wealth of experience we are losing there. I’m sure everyone including management will miss his advice. A light touch tempered with a firm resolve is what all employee representatives aspire to. I know I personally will be trying to emulate your style Neil. We wish Wendy and Yourself good health and a great handicap. You will be sorely missed but always welcome.

Thanks for your support.

Mike Swanson
Tauranga Local Secretary NZPFU

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