The heat is on Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti to front up and speak to firefighters as they prepare to take strike action today, National’s Fire and Emergency spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“With firefighters set to walk off the job at 11am, the spotlight is on Jan Tinetti – the Minister responsible for Fire and Emergency NZ – to front up and listen to concerns after being invisible for months.
“Today’s strike will limit the capacity of first responders and comes just a day after a major industrial fire in Christchurch where two fire trucks failed on site. Crews were under immense pressure and danger because FENZ has poorly managed its fleet and equipment.
“Minister Tinetti will try to deflect and say it was an operational matter so she can’t get involved. But firefighters are well aware that the Minister, and the board she appoints, have the power to pressure those running FENZ.
“Instead, the Minister has deliberately taken a hands-off approach, essentially enabling FENZ management to do whatever they want with no consequences.
“It is appalling that she sees nothing wrong with FENZ’s lack of fiscal discipline, especially when the organisation’s fleet and equipment isn’t up to scratch after capital spend of $468 million over the past five years and $200 million more in revenue than expected after its merger.
“At the very least, she should take some accountability and acknowledge there is a problem, either directly to firefighters or with a public statement.
“We have seen the placards reading ‘Where is Jan Tinetti?’. Now is her chance to answer.”