Stretched fire stations can’t keep doors open

Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s resourcing issues are continuing to mount with a number of fire stations unable to stay open because crews are too stretched, National’s Fire and Emergency spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“On Saturday, Wellington City’s busiest truck was offline, as was Porirua’s truck, for four shifts in a row (over 48 hours). In Auckland, both Remuera and Birkenhead stations were closed and Parnell had one truck offline. Onehunga had no crew so they moved the Māngere truck to Onehunga, closing Māngere because the Papatoetoe truck sent to cover lost its lights. The Auckland City aerial truck was sent to cover Remuera but struggled to get round the narrow streets of the suburb.

“This unfolding debacle is quickly becoming a farce that is putting firefighters and our communities at risk.

“Meanwhile, the Government has been paralysed by inaction. It beggars belief that an organisation that has 40 per cent more revenue than was expected when it was formed five years ago could be run into the ground so completely.

“FENZ has a broken culture. The men and women who put themselves on the line to protect our families, homes and communities are desperate for support, and FENZ seems unable to respond.

“No doubt when pushed for comment, the Minister will blame COVID, but we are 27 months through this the pandemic – so why it is that FENZ seems unable to plan for what was obvious to most New Zealanders? Our volunteer firefighters are helping out when they can but they too are at their wits’ end with an organisation and a Government that is floundering.

“The Minister must urgently address the resourcing issues plaguing FENZ and get the organisation focused on delivering outcomes.”