18 Feb 2024
Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti needs to quit hiding and urgently get around a table to resolve issues at Fire and Emergency NZ before firefighters walk off the job on Friday, National’s Fire and Emergency spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“Just two days out from industrial strike action, Jan Tinetti is nowhere to be seen or heard, despite being the Minister responsible for FENZ.
“It has been like this for months despite the organisation being at breaking point due to a lack of staff, poor resourcing and procurement, bullying, mismanagement, and wasteful spending.
“Firefighters don’t want to close station doors but feel they have no other option. They are at their wit's end because Minister Tinetti and FENZ keep turning a blind eye to their concerns.
“The Minister has made it clear she wants nothing to do with the situation. She has previously denied there is anything wrong with FENZ and continues to claim it's not her job to get involved.
“In reality, the Minister and the FENZ Board she appoints have the power to hold the organisation to account when failures become evident.
“By being deliberately hands-off, the Minister has essentially enabled FENZ management to do whatever they want with no consequences.
“It is concerning that the Minister has nothing to say about a Crown agency that can’t resolve its equipment or fire truck issues despite a capital spend of $468 million in the last five years and receiving $200 million more in revenue than expected after its merger. The truth is that Labour don’t care about performance or financial waste because it’s nearly all funded from insurance levies - it’s an easy out for them.
“The Minister is more than happy to be the face of FENZ when there’s good publicity involved but will vanish when she’s called to deal with the organisation’s problems.
“What she needs to do is pull her board together and work out a solution to get FENZ heading in the right direction.”