FENZ Dispute cont …

Following a “Halt Strike” by the NZPFU (Professional Firefighters Union) as reported here on September 1st negotiations with FENZ (Fire and Emergency NZ) have dragged on for over a month.

Last night (Tue Oct 11) Graeme Colgan provided his draft recommendations to the NZPFU and FENZ. The parties have until 5pm Wednesday (today) to provide a response with the intention of the Final Recommendations being provided this Friday evening.

The National Committee of the NZPFU will meet this afternoon to discuss the draft recommendations, the points to be made in response, and to prepare a strategy for the way forward pending the release of “Final Recommendations.” As advised by Wattie Watson, National Secretary (NZPFU)

Neither NZPFU nor FENZ are able to release or discuss the draft recommendations at this time.

The NZPFU has notified Mr Colgan and FENZ that they intend to provide the Final Recommendations, along with the NZPFU National Committee views including “the way forward” to its members.

Wattie Watson NZPFU

The question of whether Final Recommendations are to be made public is, “yet to be addressed” said, Watson.


FENZ Halts Strike

In an update this morning [Sept 1st] from, Wattie Watson, (NZPFU National Secretary) he advises us that on Tuesday 30 August the NZ Professional Firefighters Union met with FENZ and their Minister.

This follows unprecedented action by our professional firefighters on the two previous Fridays to strike and publically protest for one hour from 11 – 12 o’clock. Another protest was scheduled for this Friday.

“Minister Tinetti brought Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU) together to assist in finding a way forward in the current collective bargaining impasse.” Said, Watson.

The meeting was constructive and the parties shared a willingness to work towards a solution.

The following was agreed –

  1. The parties will enter facilitated mediation with the assistance of an agreed independent mediator.
  2. All strike notices will be suspended and no further industrial action will continue or occur.
  3. FENZ will withdraw the request for facilitated bargaining through the Employment Relations Authority.
  4. No further public communication will occur.

This agreement remains in place until September 30th 2022 or unless otherwise agreed.

NZPFU continues to advertise difficulties with staffing.

Update Sunday 9th October


Following unprecedented strike action by members of the NZ Professional Firefighters Union last Friday, NZPFU has placed the blame on Fire and Emergency leaders.

The risk to the community during the hour-long strikes falls squarely on the shoulders of FENZ CEO Kerry Gregory, the Executive Leadership Team and the Board chaired by Rebecca Keoghan.  

In their latest media release NZPFU says, “FENZ is still refusing mediation with the NZPFU.” and members will again be striking for one hour from 11am to 12 noon tomorrow (Friday) across the country in their bid to settle the collective agreement negotiations for safe staffing and systems of work, appropriate physical and mental health monitoring and support, and fair pay and conditions. 
Friends, families, volunteers and other supporters will be joining the union’s demonstrations for that hour. 

All events and locations are available at https://www.firecrisis.nz/events/

FENZ has an application in the Employment Relations Authority for facilitation.  

The parties last met on the 10th and 11th of August and FENZ is refusing to meet again before its application for facilitation is heard by the Employment Relations Authority on the 12th and 13th of September.  

NZPFU National Secretary, Wattie Watson speaking of behalf of the union today said,

“At the last mediation session FENZ did not state at mediation that they were walking away or that they thought the process was exhausted. FENZ unilaterally walked from the private mediation process despite leaving the last meeting undertaking to provide a response to the NZPFU claims and the parties asking the mediator to explore avenues to resolve some long standing issues.  FENZ had previously agreed to private mediation conducted by former Employment Court Chief Judge Graeme Colgan with the process including a high-level group to be called upon if either party had issues with the manner or progress of the discussions.  FENZ did not follow that process before filing in the ERA.”

The Employment Relations Act specifically provides that the parties can continue to use other avenues in order to progress the bargaining pending an application for facilitation, and that can continue even if facilitation is ordered.  The Mediator has been willing to continue and has provided dates of his availability but FENZ is refusing to participate in mediation.”

Key Points

• While the Employment Relations Authority is hearing the FENZ application under urgency, it is not known when a decision would be made. At the very earliest that could be the 13th September 2022.

• There is no guarantee that FENZ will be successful in their application and therefore nothing will have progressed for a month.

• Even if facilitation eventuates, the dates will have to be scheduled causing more delays.

• There is no guarantee that facilitation will result in resolving the issues.  The facilitator can only make non-binding recommendations and there is no guarantee that FENZ would agree to any recommendations.

• The only guarantees are delays as FENZ push for an expensive and lengthy legalistic process.

in conclusion Watson says,

FENZ is now not only rolling the dice on public safety every day with staff shortages and failing appliances and equipment, it is ensuring there is no chance of averting the notified strike action

FENZ: Rawene Volunteer Fire Brigade

Rawene Volunteer Fire Brigade had 28 call outs made to Rawene’s primary response area up to 30 June of this year.

Rawene is a small provincial town that sits alongside the banks of the Hokianga Harbour in rural Northland. You may have passed through the historic town centre in your travels, catching the barge to or from Kohukohu.

IMANZ has been active in researching issues around the current FENZ CRISIS (rolling updates) along with the amalgamation (between our professional firefighters and our volunteer brigades) and lingering issues dating back to 2017.

Concerns were raised by Rawene locals that the current amalgamation was placing unrealistic pressure on their brigade alongside the considerable disruption from unnecessary covid restrictions – the initial response from FENZ may have deliberately avoided information on callouts that support neighbouring brigades, an issue that was raised earlier this year by Chris Leitch from Social Credit Northland among others.

Asked about any complaints from Rawene, FENZ responded, saying 
“There have been no complaints received by Fire and Emergency [from the brigade or local residents] in relation to the Rawene brigade.”

According to a recent annual review
“The capacity of the brigade was at 50 %”
The results found that the station was 1 officer and 2 drivers short at that time and there were 8 active firefighters while the brigade has a maximum establishment of 16. 

Based on the findings of the May audit it was deemed that an additional 6 firefighters need to be recruited.  

FENZ did not answer questions in relation to equipment, policy or support.

Six (6) callouts so far this year were not attended by the brigade and all were due to the un-availability of a driver at the time of the callout. 

Rawene Brigade at 30 June had among its volunteers:
• 7 operational members
• 3 Operational support
• 3 Brigade support 

There has been no significant turnover of members within the brigade with one volunteer transferred to Kaikohe but no active volunteer members leaving the brigade between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2022 and no new members joining.

Asked how the “Brigade would rate their own performance” FENZ responsed, saying,
“20 callouts were classed as significantly delayed.” [This is on the basis that any time taken to be enroute to an incident more than 5 minutes from the alert time is considered to be a significantly delayed response.]

The FENZ dispute continues with NZPFU currently undertaking unprecedented strike action.

Jan Tinetti Minister of Internal Affairs

The significant attempts by the Minister’s Office (Jan Tinetti) to disrupt publication of current events relating to FENZ is covered in this post along with links to the NZPFU (NZ Professional Firefighters Union) Protest website.


In an unprecedented move the NZ Professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU) has issued notices of one-hour strike action to occur on Friday 19 August and again on Friday 26 August 2022.   

All NZPFU members will stop work from 11am to 12 noon on Friday 19th August and again on Friday 26th August.

The NZPFU says, this action “reflects the gravity of the situation.”

If the lack of political support for what the  NZPFU claims are unresolved issues around systems of work and safety, health and wellbeing has you puzzled, you’re not alone.

I’m not lost for words but I would like answers to what is actually going on between the union and Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) and their minister Jan Tinetti.

The NZPFU members want enforceable and guaranteed protections to ensure they are appropriately staffed and resourced to protect the community.

The NZPFU says, “FENZ has been rolling the dice on community safety and protection with its failure to have appropriate firefighter numbers or reliable fleet and equipment.”

After more than 144 hours of negotiation over 13 months (including two rounds of mediation) the NZPFU and FENZ negotiations have come to a halt.

Defining some of the outstanding issues NZPFU says,

• Excessive hours firefighters and 111 emergency centre dispatchers are working have not been enough to maintain minimum staffing levels and as a result fire trucks have been offline and stations effectively closed regularly in recent months. 

• The state of the fleet is dire with fewer heavy aerial appliances available than in 1990s. Systemic faults in the fire trucks and coupled with an aging fleet have resulted in firefighters left stranded with broken-down appliances to and from incidents, and on some occasions being issued with vans and utes as temporary measures when there are no other fire appliances available.

Similar issues were recorded in a 2018 record of settlement and undertakings were either not honoured or never came to fruition.  

Wages are also yet to be resolved.  Firefighters and other NZPFU members are considered low paid by public service standards.  NZPFU members last wage increase was on 1 July 2020.

Associated Articles

FENZ Dispute



NZPFU (NZ Professional Firefighters Union) have launched a crisis website – a protest against the mismanagement of Fire and Emergency NZ – there will be more to come of this.


You may have heard some of our mainstream journalists complaining about the Government’s failure to co-operate with Official Information Requests (OIA) and more recently the Chief Ombudsman raising his concerns about the extent to which this issue had grown?

I’m not posting this in defence of our media. This is a legitimate concern and I want to put some context around this as it relates to FENZ (Fire and Emergency NZ).

You may have seen the link only posted yesterday about the NZPFU (NZ Professional Fire Fighters Union) starting a protest website about mismanagement at FENZ.

These are serious allegations and some people might write that off as politicking having gone a step too far in the current environment however I would ask you to read on before you do adopt that point of view.

First, in relation to what the Ombudsman said, there is a major concern there and it’s this: When the OIA system fails, and especially alongside a disfunctional question time in Parliament, ministers become essentially unaccountable.

@avancenz complains long and loud about this, so I’m not alone here.

What happens then is that Ministers rely on Parliamentary media to reply for them and that boils down to a “bunch of spinners running Parliament” … which has serious and unacceptable consequences.

Coming back to FENZ, this falls under the umbrella of The Department of Internal Affairs, and Jan Tinetti who has been their Minister since the 2020 Election.

At the time of the 2020 Election FENZ (As it was then!) produced, as they normally would, a report for the incoming minister – it’s a detailed public document outlining the significant issues needing to be addressed at that time.

Recently I wrote to the Minister and asked Ms Tinetti to outline what issues in that report had been addressed or progressed.

The answer to that from her Office was that they needed to treat this question as an OIA for FENZ to answer.

Having waited 28 days I asked when the Minister was going to reply and was told “another couple of weeks”.
I contacted FENZ, who knew nothing about this and asked what I wanted to know.

Bear in mind that there have been changes to the FENZ board since that report was written.

I asked how FENZ would respond to that question to the Minister, from their point of view and what issues had been progressed.

Their answer was, “That information doesn’t exist but you’re welcome to appeal to the Ombudsman.”

I’m not asking any curly questions here. All I’m trying to do is publish what the Minister in her own words says has been achieved or what anyone can tell me has been achieved.

That answer didn’t come from their OIA staff that I normally deal with, it came from their in-house legal advisor doubling as the, Acting Deputy CEO.

I’m not advocating on behalf of the NZPFU, I have never had any contact with them.
I don’t doubt for a moment though that there are serious unresolved issues in the FENZ administration exacerbated by an unacceptable culture in the Office of Minister for Internal Affairs.

Journalism at a very basic level can’t give you the news here, today.

If you’re concerned about the plight of your emergency crews here is the link to the protest website put up by NZPFU if you want to read about their complaints.


Example of the Issues.

Interview with NZPFU

Good News For FENZ

If you are just waking to the news, yes, it’s true, there has been another quiet shuffle sideways on mandates and it’s good news for FENZ.

Yesterday the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order (No 5) 2022 was published.

This amends the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 which mandates full vaccination of FENZ  operational personnel.

Fire and Emergency roles currently required to be undertaken by vaccinated workers due to the nature of their work are covered by this ammendment

Item 7.2 … “vaccination is now only required for workers who are employed or engaged by a general practice or a pharmacy and whose role involves being within 2 metres or less of a health practitioner or a member of the public for a period of 15 minutes or more.”

This will obviously apply to workers in other sectors as well as FENZ

FENZ have completed an external legal review and have determined that these changes remove all Fire and Emergency roles from coverage under the Health Order. This means our people will no longer be required to be vaccinated to undertake their work.

These amendments to the Order come into effect from 11.59pm on 7 July 2022 and at that time roles previously covered by the Health Order will only be covered by Fire and Emergency’s Vaccination Policy which only requires vaccination for international travel.

While this will be some relief to the existing stresses within FENZ it doesn’t resolve the current strike action by the firefighters union. Comments from their Minister that firefighters should be realistic about what they ask for wouldn’t have helped, following on from her previous comment that it wasn’t her place to interfere with pay negotiations..

BREAKING: Update On FENZ Mandates

News just to hand in relation to the FENZ Mandates …

“We have completed an external legal review and have determined that these changes remove all Fire and Emergency roles from coverage under the Health Order. This means our people will no longer be required to be vaccinated to undertake their work.

These amendments to the Order come into effect from 11.59pm on 7 July 2022 and at that time roles previously covered by the Health Order will only be covered by Fire and Emergency’s Vaccination Policy which only requires vaccination for international travel.”

Where Is Tinetti

As we saw earlier this week, the Corrections and Border workers mandates were disposed of via a post to the Covid Response Minister’s website, late Tuesday evening.

The spot light currently falls on healthcare workers although it should at least cast a shadow in the direction of our striking fireman and the fire stations forced to close due to lack of staff.

Although it is not publicly acknowledged we’re reliably informed that, part of that protest includes emergency workers not releasing private health information so numbers are not reduced further, leaving the country in an even more vulnerable position.

FENZ is administered as part of the Department of Internal Affairs, for which Minister Jan Tinetti is responsible.

FENZ in a statement released this morning said their position had not changed:

“The Government is currently considering refining the definitions in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021, with the intention of narrowing the role coverage.”

This effectively is Board Chairman Rebecca Keoghan reinforcing the same message we saw 2 months ago as an advocate for Tinetti, not a responsible CEO for FENZ.

There may well be some truth in the allegations leveled by Todd Muller this week, that there is missing funds in FENZ to be accounted for and that’s why we see this extraordinary remote position from, Tinetti.

According to FENZ Board advisor, Richard Bryant “Fire and Emergency is receiving regular updates from the Ministry of Health so that it is as prepared as it can be for any changes.”

This seems somewhat at odds with the position of Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis, who had no idea on Monday that his Corrections mandates were going Tuesday. How could they have been prepared?

Even more so, when the Ministry of Health has its own dire situation, but FENZ refuses to disclose what information it receives.

“In the meantime, Fire and Emergency must continue to comply with the current Health Order.” Says Bryant.

So, we’re back to some undisclosed vague position and waiting for a recently appointed Covid Response Minister, to fix this, since Chris Hipkins has abandoned that position to fight fires in the police portfolio.

Forgive the pun, but I’m sure you get my point; why isn’t Tinetti able to be responsible for the Department she is a Minister for?

Additional Articles

Chris Lynch Media Christchurch https://chrislynchmedia.com/newsitems/fire-and-emergency-says-strike-action-will-not-impact-crews-responding-tonbspemergencies

Fire at FENZ

A critical look at the fire in FENZ (Fire and Emergency NZ) and who might get burnt …

Had it not been for Covid, FENZ would still have an ideological and underfunded mess, needing the attention of a competent minister, overseeing the amalgamation of the professional and volunteer services, which commenced in 2017.

Covid however, has left us a pile of ashes short of a Phoenix.

As reported in a previous post last Friday:

FENZ reaffirmed its position in a statement saying, that they would not be changing their current policy in respect of the Health Order.

A statement from Jan Tinetti’s office this week said that the Minster received regular updates and she was satisfied the organisation was meeting its performance expectations.

That position is vigorously contested by both the NZPFU (Professional Firefighters Union) and volunteer brigades across the country both reporting crisis situations that are not being responsibly dealt with.

In what appears to be a panicked response to the rising crisis and public awareness, FENZ has in certain cases been ignoring their vaccine mandate policy and allowing unvaccinated professional staff to work operationally in order to maintain their required back-up coverage in urban areas, but creating high-risk situations in rural areas by demanding that volunteers abide by their mandate requirements which FENZ says it is obligated to do because of the Health Order.

Another contested area is new recruits where volunteer stations say they are finding it tough to increase their numbers when they have to abide by vaccine mandates while FENZ is yet to indicate whether it is applying vaccine mandates to paid recruits, now.

However, when it has been clearly stated in a legal opinion that the Health Order is not a health issue but a human rights issue, this raises other major areas of concern.

FENZ, while saying it acts on the health information provided, won’t say if it has sought any Human Rights advice.

The Human Rights Commission has refused to acknowledge whether it is aware of the FENZ situation and whether it is or intends to take any action.

Their ‘absolute silence’ would suggest that they are all too well aware and consider it best to say nothing.

The HRC has been approached twice for comment but on both occasions has not responded.

While this is the current and ongoing situation, remember that we have both paid and volunteer staff, who because of either, their beliefs or health choices, were stood down from their roles, because they refused vaccinations when the mandates were first introduced.

It has been established through information released by FENZ that this situation affects hundreds of firefighters across the country and further that FENZ refuse to say whether or not they will proceed with any reintegration of these in-limbo cases.

The cumulative damage to careers, families, and lives, must at this stage be an unknown to anyone but the FENZ administration, and the consequences of an investigation into the treatment of FENZ staff (especially) since the court rulings around mandates, would no doubt prove extremely embarrassing, and possibly expensive, if not highly offensive in many cases.

The question as to why FENZ took such an extraordinary step in the other direction to police and defence may though be found somewhere other than in a covid explanation and in what was happening ideologically before and during the attempted and incomplete amalgamation of professional and volunteer firefighters, mentioned above.

Volunteers, said to be required to attend workshops where they were told they had white privilege, were certain to show traits of unconscious racism, sexism and microaggression, while carrying out their chosen roles.

Considering, volunteers in particular give up a lot of their time and often their sleep at night, and willingly subject themselves to danger, hard work, and risk, to protect life and property, as well as donating much of their leisure time for ongoing training, surely that shouldn’t include giving up their own personal beliefs and views and seemingly leave them in need of personality modification.

No doubt a nasty experience for those subjected to this requirement but the real casualties of this manufactured cover-up are those staff who have been stood down and who have been left unrepresented by our media.

I certainly hope we are legitimately fulfilling that role, now, in ensuring a democratic light shines on this situation.

Normally it would be inappropriate to go further because Jan Tinetti is a candidate in the Tauranga by-election but her office was asked both whether she had chosen to continue as minister during the by-election and whether she considered herself reliably informed of the situation.

Then I have questions: Would Tinetti actually want anyone else knowing about this mess and which MP in their right mind would volunteer to ride out the storm while a minister flaffed about in a by-election that their party has said they have “No expectations of winning.”?

Lastly, I don’t want the criticism drawn that this is a deliberate attempt to undermine Tinetti’s electorate campaign when answers to these questions have been sought over a number of weeks and there has been deliberate obstruction around any realistic remedy.

Tinetti doesn’t deserve to be an mp let alone a minister given what is unfolding here or the opportunity of using a by-election as an excuse to be generally absent from tough questions which are also not being answered by the Board Chair Rebecca Keoghan.

This may be a first and in that case we might also ask whether by-election candidates should be allowed to retain ministerial roles once nominated for that election.